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Affirmative Action On Campus Does More Harm Than Good

The BriefGet Up To Speed

Affirmative action, when used as a factor in college admissions, is meant to foster diversity and provide equal opportunities in education for underrepresented minorities. But is it achieving its stated goals and helping the population it was created to support? Its critics point to students struggling to keep up in schools mismatched to their abilities and to the fact that the policy can be manipulated to benefit affluent and middle class students who already possess many educational advantages. Is it time to overhaul or abolish affirmative action?  

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Like Prohibition, affirmative action and then diversity were originally noble efforts that were doomed — largely by their own illiberal contradiction of using present and future racial discrimination to atone for past racial discrimination.

Thursday, March 14, 2013
Victor Davis Hanson

Affirmative action does not inspire dialogue, but rather silences it by justifying prejudices against minority students.

Sunday, September 9, 2012
Katrin Marquez

In this paper we have analyzed how black and white educational outcomes at an elite university vary over time. We have focused on two outcomes: grades and choice of major.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Peter Arcidiacono

Not only do preferences fail to narrow racial disparities in income and educational attainment, they harm students of all backgrounds.

Wednesday, April 6, 2005
Marie Gryphon

This study is focused on ethnic and gender differences in science persistence at selective colleges and competing ideas about how such differences may be related to affirmative action admission policies.

Tuesday, June 1, 2004
Frederick L. Smyth and John J. McArdle

If, after 25 years, affirmative action has not succeeded in ending discrimination, perhaps it is time to try something else.

Tuesday, October 1, 1996
David Sacks and Peter Thiel

Affirmative action is one of the most effective tools for redressing the injustices caused by our nation's historic discrimination against people of color and women, and for leveling what has long been an uneven playing field.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

This book is an attempt to chart what race-sensitive admissions policies have meant… both to the individuals who were admitted and to the society that has invested in their education and that counts so heavily on their future leadership.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
William G. Bowen & Derek Bok

Universities should be free to select those minority students it believes most likely to enter and succeed in professions, or otherwise help in reducing racial stereotype and prejudice.

Thursday, December 20, 2012
Ronald Dworkin

Contrary to the conservative narrative in the media, Affirmative Action admissions processes serve important national interests by promoting equal opportunity and are based on long-standing law.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Sergio Munoz

Martha Minow and Robert Post, the deans of Harvard and Yale Law Schools, respectively, discuss why a ban on affirmative action would be a tragedy for higher education.

Friday, October 5, 2012
Martha L. Minow and Robert C. Post

While Sander has appropriately forced us and others to take a hard look at the actual workings of affirmative action, he has significantly overestimated the costs of affirmative action and failed to demonstrate benefits from ending it.

Sunday, May 1, 2005
David L. Chambers et al

Substantial progress in increasing black student’s pre-collegiate performance is critical to eliminating the need for affirmative action. Absent such progress, the elimination of racial preferences in admissions will lead to substantial declines in black representation at the nation’s most selective colleges and universities.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Alan Krueger

In states that have banned affirmative action in college admissions, prominent public universities have tended to enroll fewer black and Hispanic freshmen.

Monday, June 24, 2013
New York Times

The Minorities in Higher Education series, which began in 1984, is designed to help gauge the progress in our quest for educational excellence and equity for all races/ethnicities and for both men and women in American higher education.<a name="Statelegislation" id="Statelegislation"></a>

Saturday, October 1, 2011
Young M. Kim

A background on state legislation on affirmative action, including the text, voting history, arguments, and chronology on California’s Proposition 209.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969

What’s more important to how your life turns out: the prestige of the school you attend or how much you learn while you’re there? Does the answer to this question change if you are the recipient of affirmative action?

Wednesday, March 12, 2003
Dan Slater
Supreme Court Cases

Does a state violate the Equal Protection Clause or political-restructuring doctrine by amending the state constitution to prohibit public universities and schools from using race in their admissions processes?

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Legal Information Institute

A historical overview of Supreme Court cases regarding affirmative action.<a name="Fishervtexas" id="Fishervtexas"></a>

Saturday, June 1, 2013
National Conference of State Legislatures

In <em>Fisher v. University of Texas</em>, the justices sent a thorny affirmative action case concerning the university’s program to achieve racial diversity back to the lower courts for further consideration under a tougher standard of review.

Monday, June 24, 2013
John Schwartz
Monday, June 24, 2013
Supreme Court of the United States

Together, <em>Gratz</em> and <em>Grutter</em> affirmed and refined the Supreme Court's position on affirmative action a quarter century after its initial decision in <em>Regents of University of California v. Bakke</em> (1978). The Court made clear that affirmative action programs are only constitutional if they consider race as one factor in an individualized evaluation, and only to achieve the goal of "class diversity."

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Alex McBride

The Law School’s narrowly tailored use of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body is not prohibited by the Equal Protection Clause, Title VI, or §1981.

Monday, June 23, 2003
Supreme Court of the United States

Racial classifications call for strict judicial scrutiny. Nonetheless, the purpose of overcoming substantial, chronic minority underrepresentation in the medical profession is sufficiently important to justify petitioner's remedial use of race.

Wednesday, December 31, 1969
Legal Information Institute

With affirmative action boiled down to a diversity program, it finds itself in retreat.

Saturday, October 13, 2012
David Leonhardt

While higher education’s vigorous defense of affirmative action on one level represents a sincere desire for greater racial equality, it has another less virtuous side to it, as racial preferences avoid the hard work of addressing deeply rooted inequalities and instead provide what Stephen Carter has called “racial justice on the cheap.”

Monday, October 1, 2012
Richard D. Kahlenberg and Haley Potter

A debate, with accompanying research and scholarship, on whether affirmative action should focus on class and wealth rather than race and ethnicity.

Thursday, April 16, 2009
National Discussion and Debate Series

Affirmative action is a tool that can be designed to achieve different goals, and replacing race? with class?ased affirmative action would achieve some goals, but run counter to others.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Douglas N. Harris
More Debate

Should colleges and universities continue to take race into account for the sake of diversity on campus?

Thursday, March 1, 2012
Room for Debate

Courtney Bowie, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, Roger Clegg, president and general counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, Joshua Thompson, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, and Richard D. Kahlenberg, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation, give their brief takes on whether the United States still needs affirmative action.

Monday, September 17, 2012
One Minute Debate

Sixty-seven percent say decisions should be based solely on merit.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Jeffrey M. Jones

What do polls show about racial preferences in college admissions? Don't take the overall number at face value.

Friday, May 31, 2013
David A. Graham
Recent News

A proposed state constitutional amendment, dubbed SCA 5, would repeal portions of Proposition 209 that have banned the consideration of race, ethnicity and gender in public colleges’ recruitment, admissions and retention programs since 1998.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Karen Kucher

The Supreme Court could end the practice in admissions decisions at public universities.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Greg Toppo