The most hated man on America's college campuses is George W. Bush. On many campuses, Ward Connerly ranks a close second.
Connerly, who is black, is founder and chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute. In March 1993, he was appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson to the University of California Board of Regents for a 12-year term. He chaired the Proposition 209 campaign in California; the proposition, which banned the use of race in government employment, education and contracting, passed by an overwhelming majority in November 1996. He designed Proposition 54, the Racial Privacy Initiative, which would have banned the state of California from gathering racial information on official forms. He also authored the recently deceased SP-1 and SP-2 policies, which barred the UC system from utilizing affirmative action.
All of this makes Connerly persona non grata on campus. His newest project: bringing a Prop. 209-like initiative to Michigan.
"I certainly don't hold myself out as any expert on problems with the black community, or white community, or any other community," Connerly explained in an interview with me Nov. 21. "But there is no reason that a student in the state of California, or in the country for that matter, who wants to get an education, can't get it. We're beating the door down to bring in black students. There's no overt discrimination. ... I think that a lot of those problems are self-imposed."
Connerly is used to tenacious and vicious opposition. But now, the opposition has kicked into high gear, led by the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action and Integration and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN). This communist-involved, ultra-left-wing group has targeted Connerly, calling him "the most notorious and fanatical right-wing opponent of civil rights in California." BAMN accuses him of using his position as UC regent to "spearhead a series of statewide and national attacks on civil rights and integration."
BAMN is calling for a boycott of Coors Beer, since Joseph Coors personally gave money to Connerly's Prop. 54 campaign. It's also calling for Connerly's resignation (despite the fact that Connerly's term is up in two years, and he told me that he will absolutely refuse to seek reappointment).