The University of Michigan issued a revised admissions policy yesterday in line with the Supreme Court decision upholding the use of race in admissions but striking down the university's point system. The new undergraduate admissions policy at Michigan will use short essays on the topic of diversity to search for students who will add to "the intellectual vibrancy and diversity of the student body," according to the Los Angeles Times. Because of the additional application readers required to deal with short essays, the new system will be more than 33 percent more expensive than the point-system the school was previously using, costing $2 million a year, the New York Times reports. The new system, called a "holistic review," is similar to the process that smaller and more select colleges use for admissions.
Michigan's affirmative action policy was challenged in 1997 by two white students who were denied admission, one to the undergraduate program and one to the law school. The students were represented by an anti-affirmative action non-profit group, the Center for Individual Rights. The US Supreme Court in February of this year upheld Michigan's use of race in its law school admissions, and in the undergraduate admissions upheld the principles of affirmative action but struck down the specific policy Michigan employed. Michigan had been using a point system in which student s could receive points for a number of factors, including race, low-income status, leadership, service, life experiences, and for living in Michigan's upper peninsula, among other factors. In announcing the new policy, Mary Sue Coleman, university president, said, "Our fundamental values haven't changed. We believe that in order to create a dynamic learning environment for all of our students, we must bring together students who are highly qualified academically and who represent a wide range of backgrounds and experiences," according to the NY Times.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .