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College Students to Rally for Affirmative Action

March 29, 1998|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — It all started as "a simple statement to support diversity" in the mind of New York University Law School student Sabrina Comizzoli.

But six weeks later, that idea has mushroomed into scheduled rallies at more than 50 college campuses in 21 states to support affirmative action on April 1.

"Its been just amazing," Comizzoli said. "I never did anything like this before. I just decided I needed to do something political, and it looks like it will be great."

The afternoon rally at New York University will kick off the nationwide event to support affirmative action provisions. Other schools scheduled to hold events include Rutgers University, the University of Georgia, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Michigan and Columbia University, Comizzoli said.

While recent polls of student attitudes show rising apathy for political causes, Comizzoli said she believes a cause can indeed spark student action if it affects them directly.

"We go to college to learn, and you will learn more in a diverse setting," Comizzoli said.

Some educators fear reports of reduced minority admissions in some colleges and universities are a result of actions of a federal court in Texas and the voters of California under Proposition 209 to end educational preferences for minorities.

Minorities are discouraged from applying, and administrators have become overly cautious about admissions policies, they contend.

According to a report from the Assn. of American Medical Colleges, 17% fewer minority students applied to their state medical schools in California and in Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana-- states covered by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision that affirmative action is unconstitutional. The number accepted in the four states dropped by 27%.

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