Connerly to speak at Law School tomorrow

Analysis on Policy

Ward Connerly, an outspoken critic of affirmative action and a key player in the campaign to ban the practice in Michigan, will appear on campus tomorrow.

This will be Connerly's first visit to campus since Proposal 2 passed in November 2006, banning the use of race- and gender-based affirmative action in state public institutions, including the University of Michigan.

Connerly, a former University of California regent, successfully spearheaded efforts to pass ballot initiatives banning affirmative action in California and Washington, before bringing his campaign to Michigan.

Connerly will be speaking as part of a three-person panel called, "Kelo, Grutter, and Popular Responses to Unpopular Decisions" during this weekend's 2008 Federalist Society Student Symposium. The panel, which will be moderated by Michigan Supreme Court Justice Robert Young, will discuss controversial ballot measures - including Proposal 2.

The panel will begin at 9 a.m in Hutchins Hall.

Event organizer Michael James Ruttinger said he expects about 500 people to attend tomorrow's event.

Ruttinger said organizers have not heard of any planned protests surrounding Connerly's visit and have not arranged for additional security specifically because of Connerly's presence.

He added that he didn't expect the panel to come under fire because it is meant to be "an even-handed debate discussing all sides of the issues."

Ruttinger said organizers Ruttinger said he was unsure when Connerly accepted the invitation to appear on the panel, but said the majority of the event's speakers were finalized in December.

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