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Affirmative Action in College Admissions

Uploaded by srheric on Apr 23, 2007

Affirmative Action in College Admissions

Affirmative action is the practice, usually by institutions, of giving preference to racial minorities or women when hiring employees, giving awards, or deciding whom to admit. Affirmative action arose out of a desire to bring minority groups into institutions and professions that had traditionally been dominated by white males. It first appeared after the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s. One of the largest groups that uses affirmative action today are universities during the admissions process.

Racial quotas for public colleges were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the case of Bakke v. California. Since then, colleges that wanted to increase diversity have used other types of affirmative action. While private universities have usually had more freedom in their admissions decisions, they have found that other affirmative action policies are a better way of achieving diversity than quotas because they allow for greater flexibility and more fairness.

Affirmative action in the college admissions process has been primarily an ethical rather than a legal issue. As long as the decision process did not use racial quotas, colleges were allowed to choose to accept whomever they wanted. This is changing however. California's Proposition 209 prohibits any use of racial preferences in government hiring and public school admissions. More than a dozen states are considering similar legislation.

Even though the question is an ethical one, most of the disagreement is over whether or not affirmative action increases fairness in the admissions process. In addition, the debate over affirmative action is about what role diversity in student body play in both the academic mission of a university and in the quality of life on campus.

Those against affirmative action often say that it makes it easier for members of some groups to get into college and harder for others. However, the purpose of affirmative action is to increase the admissions rates of minorities that are under-represented in colleges. This under-representation is caused by various social factors. One social factor is that students from families where few people have pursued higher education are less likely to excel in high school. Another factor is that children who come from communities where English is not regularly spoken face a large disadvantage in reading and writing. Lastly, students from school districts with lower funding tend to perform...

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Uploaded by:   srheric

Date:   04/23/2007

Category:   Affirmative Action

Length:   3 pages (779 words)

Views:   8563

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