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BGSU students march in DC today

By Patricia Rengifo

City News Editor

Ninety-three University students, along with 17 students from the University of Toledo, are going to court — the Supreme Court.

They are traveling 480 miles to participate in a national march and rally supporting affirmative action on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court today.

Today, the court will hear two cases which may prove to be historic. The lawsuits, Grutter v. Bollinger and Gratz v. Bolllinger, challenge the use of race in admissions at University of Michigan’s law school and in the school’s undergraduate program.

The students have spent the last six weeks preparing and fund-raising for their two-day trip. The final cost of the trip is more than $5,400, which includes two buses, highway tolls, parking fees and signs to carry.

Bianca Hutchinson, sophomore, is one of the driving forces behind the trip. She acts as a liaison between the national organization Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration and Fight for Equality by Any Means Necessary, which organized the rally and the students.

“BAMN is the organization that was formed in 1995 in response to the attack on affirmative action in the University of California system,” Hutchinson said.

She became involved with the organization in February when Miranda Massie, the lead counsel for the student intervenors in Grutter v. Bollinger spoke on campus.

“After speaking with the national organizers [for BAMN] when Miranda Massie came to campus and seeing the interest from other students, I decided that I wanted to go to Washington,” she said.

From that point Hutchinson worked closely with Marshall Rose and Sylvia Chandler in the Office of Equity, Diversity and Immigration Services to bring interested students together. Chandler, an equity and diversity officer, has been at the University for six years and will also be taking part in the trip to Washington, D.C.

“It is important because it could change equal access opportunity not only in education, but also in employment,” Chandler said. Chandler is pleased with the amount of student participation in the organizing process.

“All the students jumped on-board — signing petitions and now raising funds. They got together and put together a plan,” Chandler said. “They really came together.”

Hutchinson will also be speaking during the rally beside civil rights activists like Jesse Jackson.

“It’s really cool to be a part of history. I’ll be representing all Native American students when I speak,” Hutchinson said.

The rally begins at 9 a.m. and will last the duration of the day while the Supreme Court hears the cases.

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