A Conflict of Principles: The Battle Over Affirmative Action at the University of Michigan | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

A Conflict of Principles: The Battle Over Affirmative Action at the University of Michigan

"No state . . . shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." So says the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, a document held dear by Carl Cohen, a professor of philosophy and longtime champion of civil liberties who has devoted most of his adult life to the University of Michigan. So when Cohen discovered, after encountering some resistance, how his school, in its admirable wish to increase minority enrollment, was actually practicing a form of racial discrimination—calling it "affirmative action"—he found himself at odds with his longtime allies and colleagues in an effort to defend the equal treatment of the races at his university.

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