The Affirmative Action Quagmire

Should institutions of higher education be allowed to engage in affirmative action programs that extend certain privileges to minorities, specifically African-Americans and Hispanics? Though that issue has been left unaddressed in the presidential campaign, it will be center stage at the United States Supreme Court on October 10. In the highly anticipated case of Fisher v. University of Texas, Abigail Fisher, a white woman who was denied admission to UT Austin’s campus in 2008, protests the admissions procedures that she claims vaulted less qualified minority students into the university ahead of her.

My own position is as follows: Rather than place restrictions on race-based preferences, the Supreme Court should let colleges run themselves, as I argue in my weekly column for Defining Ideas.

  1. Basil Fawlty

    May we then conclude that, should a university’s administration, faculty, student body and alumni believe that uniformity is of more educational value than diversity, the university should be free to provide race-based preference to white students in its admission process?

  2. Vance Richards

    Sounds like an argument for freedom,”let colleges run themselves”.

    Then, of course, we should let businesses run themselves as well. Who you hire, fire, or promote should not be regulated by the government. Employers shouldn’t fear discrimination law suits from disgruntled workers. If a business isn’t hiring the best people, that will show in their results.

    Anyway, I still like the idea of freedom. Although I think that puts me in the minority in this country.

  3. Misthiocracy

    Should they be allowed to do so?

    That would depend entirely on whether the institution in question was private or public.

    A private institution should be allowed to set whatever policies it likes in this regard.

    A public institution should not be allowed to set such policies, as they are in violation of the US Constitution.

  4. Keith Rice

    When an educational institution values a social cause more than educational values, it ceases to be an educational institution.

  5. Crabby Appleton 2.0

    I wonder how many, if any, private (especially Ivy League) institutions would be so assiduously affirmative if federal government funding weren’t at stake.  Yeah, I’m looking’ at YOU, Harvard !

  6. Red Feline
    Misthiocracy: Should they beallowed to do so?

    That would depend entirely on whether the institution in question was private or public.

    A private institution should be allowed to set whatever policies it likes in this regard.

    A public institution should not be allowed to set such policies, as they are in violation of the US Constitution. · 1 hour ago

    Read your article! I am with Misthiocracy!

  7. Rachel Lu
    C

    It does seem to me to be somewhat unfair when a publicly funded institution uses aggressive affirmative action policies in their admissions process. If everyone has to pay taxes whether or not they attend, it seems that the school should maintain some pretense that everyone has equal access (at least potentially). I realize that this is complicated; whoever doesn’t get in will always feel a little cheated. But this much at least seems clear to me: universities don’t feel answerable to the wishes of the general public in this regard, which is short-sighted of them in these budget-slashing times.

  8. Jack Warren

    In this case, I agree with Richard — colleges certainly should be allowed to set their own policies. Of course there are the obvious reasons, but almost as important is the stark divide it would set between many institutions, providing even more criteria for a decision on where to send your kids and your money.

  9. ctlaw

    The problem is that it would then turn into an anti-trust issue. The schools using preferences would have to attack the merit schools somehow. You already see it being enforced via accreditation bodies.

    BTW, it’s quite ironic that Columbia et al. have filed amicus briefs. The Ivy League’s preferences have taken away most of the members of preferred groups who would have qualified for merit admittance at second tier schools like UT, thus causing the asserted problem.

  10. Aelreth

    If I recall correctly the youth are overwhelmingly against Affirmative Action. Any move the court makes towards rewarding it alienates the under 30 crowd until the supreme court becomes irrelevant. This will help keep Roberts from making any moves against liberty, this time.

  11. Jonathan Cast

    They can run themselves as long as they can keep their hands off my wallet.

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