African American Alumni Reunion

Why Now?

  • In 2006, Michigan voters passed Proposal 2 (also known as “the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative”), which effectively banned affirmative action at all public institutions within the state of Michigan. As a result, Michigan Law could no longer consider race as a factor in the admissions process.

  • Underrepresented minority enrollment dropped 40 percent in 2009, the first full academic year post Proposal 2.

  • Since 2009, we have experienced a significant drop in African American matriculants. Before Proposal 2 passed, the average number of African American students in each class was approximately 25–30; now we are seeing an average class size of 15–18.

  • We can use scholarship funds to recruit top-performing African American students based on academic credentials and LSAT scores. However, we are less effective at recruiting solid-performing students who are admitted to Michigan Law and our peer schools, but aren’t otherwise eligible for a merit scholarship. These students tend to choose our peer schools over us because they are located in major markets like NYC, Chicago, Boston, DC, etc. If they get into higher-ranked schools, we also tend to lose them.

  • We are hoping to galvanize alumni to raise funds for scholarships that can persuade African American admitted students to attend Michigan Law and level the playing field with our peer schools.

  • We have so few numbers of African American students that even if we recruit away two or three from another school, it could make a significant difference.


  • Re-engage African American alumni, both with the Law School and with one another.

  • Celebrate the legacy of the Michigan Law African American alumni community.

  • Recognize the importance of alumni-funded scholarships like those bearing the names of Gabriel Hargo, Butch Carpenter; and Ernest Newborn & Broderick Johnson.

  • Improve and support recruitment and matriculation of African American students through outreach and mentoring.


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