September 18, 2006 | Myrna Anderson

Calvin College will host a panel discussion of Michigan's upcoming affirmative action vote.

Calvin College will be one of two sites this week for a panel discussion on Michigan's upcoming affirmative action vote.

On Thursday, September 21, at 7 pm in the Fine Arts Center at Calvin, the college will host “Affirmative Action: It's Up for A Vote,” a panel discussion featuring people on both sides of the issue. That will follow a similar event that day at Hope College, to be held from 3:00 to 4:30 pm in the Maas Auditorium.

The event at Calvin will be moderated by college communication arts and sciences professor Randall Bytwerk. Calvin professor of sociology and interim dean for multicultural affairs Michelle Loyd-Paige will be a panelist as will Calvin sophomore Jonathan Jelks, a local activist who has organized previous forums on the issue and other issues relating to African American youth in Grand Rapids.

Pro-ballot panelists include Chris Eveleth, a salesman and student at Lansing Community College, and authors Diane Carey and Gregory Brodeur. Joining Jelks and Loyd-Paige on the anti-ballot side of the table is Ingrid Scott-Weekley, the equal opportunity director for the city of Grand Rapids.

The proposed ammendment would add language to the state constitution that would ban affirmative action programs that give preferential treatment to groups or individuals based on their race, gender, color, ethnicity or national origin for public employment, education or contracting purposes.

Both panels are sponsored by the West Michigan Colleges and Universities group whose presidents who have signed a compact to work together on issues of race and diversity. It includes presidents of Aquinas, Baker, Calvin, Cooley Law, Cornerstone, Davenport, Ferris State, Grace Bible, Grand Rapids Community, Grand Valley State, Hope, Kendall, Kuyper, Muskegon Community and Western Michigan.

The group exists to “promote full respect and support for every individual, regardless of race or ethnicity.” It shares efforts and resources, supports the activities of other institutions, engages in appropriate reciprocal partnerships with the broader community and cooperates in concrete ways to promote anti-racist and multicultural efforts.

Michelle Loyd-Paige, professor of sociology

Randall Bytwerk, professor of communication arts and sciences

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