Education

Jennifer Gratz: the Michigan Woman Who Destroyed Affirmative Action

April 24, 2014
 

No one was more thrilled with Tuesday’s Supreme Court decision to uphold Michigan’s affirmative action ban than Jennifer Gratz.

Her name wasn’t on the Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action case — but it may as well have been. It was Gratz’s rejection from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1995 that set the court’s decision in motion.

Gratz is the woman who inspired two separate cases before the Supreme Court on affirmative action in higher education, ending with the justices’ 6-2 ruling Tuesday that upheld a constitutional amendment in Michigan that voters approved in 2006. It bans preferential treatment based on race, gender, ethnicity or national origin.

Gratz said she will continue keeping watch over the issue in the coming months. “Nothing from our opposition would surprise me anymore,” Gratz said. “They are radical and they would use any means necessary.”

Back in the mid-1990s, the university assigned a point value to applications from minority students that could help them get in. Gratz, who is white, didn’t land a spot despite a 3.8 GPA and a host of extracurricular activities. She was admitted to Michigan’s Dearborn campus instead of the university’s flagship.

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