Known as one of the biggest obstacles in higher education to date would arguably be the use of affirmative action within the higher education admission process for both private and public institutions (Kaplin & Lee, 2014; Wang & Shulruf, 2012). The focus of current research is an attempt to either justify or deny the use of affirmative action within current practices through various higher education institutions, and though any one person could potentially be swayed to side with the rationale to maintain its use or disregard, the facts are quite clear that the future of this practice is unclear. Therefore, this essay will present current research in an attempt to determine if affirmative action should continue to be used within college admission decisions.
What is Affirmative Action?
Signed in an executive order by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity was created to ensure that hiring and employment practices are free of racial bias. Three years later, President Lyndon Johnson presented the Civil Rights Act in 1964 prohibiting discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion, or national origin (Wang & Shulruf, 2012). Later that same year, President Johnson gave a commencement speech attempting to give an ethical response to the losses both materially and mentally to the African-Americans in slavery in the United States (Chace, 2011). Within the later years of the 1960s, higher education institution administrators, in an effort to boost under-represented groups of minorities, introduced the affirmative action concept into the admissions processes (Wang & Shulruf, 2012).
What has been the effect of these monumental milestones for minorities and under-represented groups of race, color, creed, and gender? Clawson and Leiblum (2008) state that after the introduction of affirmative action various groups were expecting curriculum to not only contain a broader content more adept to their specific classification, but more importantly to provide governance to help protect these various classes in the form of support groups and distinctive clubs. Chace (2012) continues to state the various disconnect that the comments made by President Johnson has on current practices by once advocating the intent to give back to a race that had lost so dearly, is now not viewed the same. After these past fifty years, today’s realties are quite different. Restitution seems much less the focus of such affirmative action policies than in the past.
Just as Affirmative Action can be utilized within the admission process for college institutions, it can be used in the financial aid decisions for student’s funding of their education. And, while the decisions for college admissions can be based in part of affirmative action pending the institution’s election of voluntary, race-neutral, or race-conscious admissions – Federal financial aid must have specific boundaries as well. Chace (2012)...