A state lawmaker said Monday he will aim to ban the practice
of considering race for hiring or admissions.
Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, plans to introduce
legislation that would lead to a constitutional amendment banning affirmative
action in Wisconsin.
?As time goes on, it becomes more and more apparent that the
forces of affirmative action are trying to expand the role of preferences in
Wisconsin,? Grothman said. ?It is time to go back the other way.?
Grothman cited one state agency he is involved with that
requires law firms to list the number of ?so-called minorities? they employ
before considering doing business with them.
?I think [affirmative action] is incredibly divisive and
will eventually destroy this country,? Grothman said. ?We cannot keep telling
people to view themselves as members of an ethnic group; they have to be
The issue of affirmative action was debated at length in the
Legislature last session in a special committee.
Rep. Tamara Grigsby, D-Milwaukee, worked with Grothman then
and said the two could not disagree more on the issue.
?I?ve tried to make it very clear that I?m vehemently
against a constitutional amendment or any other proposal that would limit
affirmative action,? Grigsby said.
Grigsby added she does not think such a proposal would make
much progress in the Democratic state Senate.
?I have no confidence whatsoever that his proposal will see
the light of day this session,? Grigsby said.
Sen. Lena Taylor, D-Milwaukee, was also on the committee and
said trying to kill affirmative action isn?t in the state?s best interest.
?Legislators love to talk about equal opportunity,
inclusiveness and diversity as goals for our state,? Taylor said. ?It takes
programs like affirmative action to reach those goals, though.?
The University of Wisconsin System, receiving much of its
funding from the state, would potentially feel the effects of an affirmative
action ban on its admissions policy, which currently considers race as a
?It?s not primarily about the UW; it?s mostly about hiring
practices,? Grothman said.
UW System spokesperson David Giroux said the proposal might
not even affect UW admissions.
?It?s been well-documented we have an admissions policy that
considers a whole host of things, the first of which is academic performance
and academic potential,? Giroux said. ?Within that, there is a provision that
requires that we consider students as whole individuals, not just test scores.?
Giroux said race does play a small part in the assessment of
an applicant?s potential to contribute to UW?s diversity, but other factors ?
like urban versus rural upbringing and geographic diversity ? are considered as
?We want to have diverse student bodies, and diverse in
every sense of the term,? Giroux said.
Though Grothman has attempted to ban affirmative action
before and has failed, his proposal is similar to one that became law in
Michigan last year, though students and faculty at the University of Michigan
voiced their strong opposition.