Free pizza and affirmative action stir up a fine debate

Camilla McElligott

Managing Editor

Students crowded into Room 144 of the University of Houston Law CenterTuesday to indulge in free pizza and a debate on affirmative action and higher education sponsored by the Black Law Students Association and The Federalist Society.

After the initial rumble of students fighting for a share of pizza, two guest speakers, Dr. Michael Greve, Director of the Center for Individual Rights, and Dr. Steven Pitts, Director of the Research of the Institute for African American Policy Research and Economics, were introduced. The topic was Affirmative Action as it affects higher education in America, but debate centered on the Hopwood decision, the case that ruled race cannot be a factor in university admissions.

Greve, a supporter of the Hopwood decision, began by saying the debate was "worthwhile because there are two cases just like Hopwood hanging around the country, both litigated by my organization."

Greve said Affirmative Action, as it stands today, does not benefit the minorities it is intended for. "Two-thirds of all African-American students who attend the University of Texas came from out of state, people who have never been discriminated against by the state of Texas, those who have never seen it's K-12 systems."

Pitts responded by saying, "The continuation of discrimination must be a starting point. You must understand it exists."

He offered the audience and his fellow debater a challenge. "If, in the course of this discussion, you find a better way to eliminate white supremacy than affirmative action, let's talk about it."

Some students at the debate said the debate was not all they had expected.

"I was disappointed by how low-key it was," said prospective UH law student Nathan Sharman.

"The debate felt cramped," said third-year law student Jack Lee. "There was not enough time to flush out issues. Discus-sions were cursory at best. At worst, they were so over simplified to be misleading."

Other students said the debate went well and were pleased with the outcome.

"Each debater presented a good case. However, I agree with Dr. Greve. His ideas were based more on how the world works," said first-year law student Mike Portis.

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