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The staff flippant dismissal of Lani Guinier with the label of "Quota Queen," simplistically evades a real discussion of her views and suitability as Class Day speaker. Their treatment of Guinier is reminiscent of the superficial appraisal the national media as a whole gave her at the time of her nomination.
The law journal articles for which Guinier is criticized are not legislative prescriptions--they are intended to foster discussion. She proposes cumulative voting to give a voice to citizens who think their votes cannot otherwise make a difference, including racial minorities in predominantly white districts. She would give voters several votes, to apportion as they saw fit, all to one candidate or spread among several.
At a time when many citizens--not only racial minorities--are disenchanted with the political process, Guinier's ideas deserve at least a hearing. Perhaps the racial underpinnings of her plan are flawed, and cumulative voting itself may not be not a useful solution to our problems, but the discussion Guinier's views provokes is still productive.
Even if we adopt none of her policies, we can gain insight from Guinier's speech. Representative democracy can be reformed without being "dismantled."
Regardless of whether or not we agree with Guinier's proposals, we believe that her speech can be a worthwhile addition to seniors' Class Day experience.
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