Andrea Volger


Location: Kalamazoo, MI, United States

    Issues Areas:
  • Education Justice
  • Racial Justice

Campus: Western Michigan University - Kalamazoo, MI

Fellowship Class Year: 2006

Blueprint: Organizing to Save Affirmative Action in Michigan

In the November 2006 elections, a statewide ballot initiative called the "Michigan Civil Rights Initiative" aimed to ban affirmative action policies and outreach programs at all publicly funded state institutions including higher education institutions. The ballot initiative was sponsored by Ward Connerly, the architect of similar ballot initiatives in Washington, Texas, and California. The YP4 Fellows at Michigan State University created and coordinated a state-wide student coalition looking to raise awareness about affirmative action policies in general and the "Michigan Civil Rights Initiative" in particular. YP4 Fellows from across the state of Michigan then began to educate the public and train student leaders on the issue of affirmative action. They also coordinated a "week of action" the last week of March to commemorate the 3-year anniversary of the University of Michigan Supreme Court decision upholding affirmative action as a beneficial part of a college's admissions and outreach process. The YP4 Fellows also held a press conference to announce the coalition and held a day-long training session for student leaders on things such as the history of affirmative action. The Michigan State University YP4 Fellows capped off their activism with a debate between affirmative action activist Tim Wise and University of Michigan Professor Carl Cohen on the topic of "The Future of Affirmative Action in Michigan: A Dialogue."