An examination of the law concerning race-based admissions policies in state funded institutions of higher education
Black, Stephen Germaine
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Affirmative action refers to “the employment programs required by federal statutes and regulations designed to remedy discriminatory practices in hiring minority group members; i.e. positive steps designed to eliminate existing and continuing discrimination, to remedy lingering effects of past discrimination, and to create systems and procedures to prevent future discrimination; commonly based on population percentages of minority groups in a particular area.” Factors considered are race color, sex, creed and age. It application has expanded to include programs and policies designed to increase the number of minorities and women admitted into colleges and universities. Affirmative action is an attempt at a logical response to those who had long been denied their rights to participate equitably in American society. Affirmative action in the college admissions process has become an ethical issue rather than a legal one. In other words, affirmative action regulations are the federal government’s only tools to legislate morality. Most colleges and universities have a long history of granting preferential treatment to targeted minority applicants. As long as the decision process does not employ strict racial allocations, colleges can choose to accept whomever they want. With the rise of state legislation to end affirmative action, there will be a corresponding drop in enrollment of minorities. Affirmative action is not about quotas, nor is it truly about preferential treatment. It is about making admission to college even among all American students. However, advocates of affirmative action believe that the playing field is not yet level and that granting unpretentious recompense to minorities and women is more than fair, given hundreds of years of discrimination that has profited White men.