Affirmative Action: Path to Equality or Reverse Discrimination?
AbstractHigher education is the door to opportunity for social advancement in our society and is often tied to political and social power. This paper will consider the use of race-based preferential treatment in university andcollege admissions. By examining key court rulings concerning the implementation of affirmative action in Washington, California, Texas, and Michigan, the nature of the Courtâ€™s fragmented opinions regardingaffirmative action programs with respect to university and college admissions will become evident. The debate over affirmative action is generally split between the need to balance the individual guarantee of equal protection under the law, as stipulated in the Fourteenth Amendment and the interpretation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, with the desire to remedy past discrimination and promote diversity in institutionsof higher learning. It is the contention of the author that affirmative action policies such as minority outreach and targeted recruitment, strike a balance in the affirmative action debate and are more effective, constitutional methods to achieve opportunity for all and increase diversity, than are quota-based admissions policies that can themselves be discriminatory.
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