The Negative Consequences of Affirmative Action
For the past thirty years, affirmative action has been an integral part of the admissions policy at the University of California. However, successful challenges in the U. S. Court system have recently scrutinized the morality and legality of affirmative action practices. As a result, many institutions of higher learning are revising their present policies. One such change was recently initiated at the University of California when the Board of Regents voted to abolish the use of affirmative action in their admissions policy.
Burdman (1997) presented a historical overview of Ward Connerly’s position on affirmative action and his campaign to have the University of California admissions be based on a color-blind application. Also reviewed were the results of the decision to abolish affirmative action. “The Long GoodBye” covered five main points: SP-1 and Connerly’s accompanying ideas; maintaining diversity; administration’s new ideas; SP-1 guidelines; and the resulting consquences.
Burdman defined SP-1 and presented an outline of Connerly’s idea to treat UC’s admission policy in the same manner as real estate licenses and the state bar exam -identified solely by social security numbers (1,2). Burdman discussed the challenges that would make color-blind admissions a seemingly insurmountable task, i.e. changing application forms and eliminating personal essays so hints to a persons’ background would not be revealed (2). UC wants to have their campuses reflect the state’s diversity and with the abolishment of affirmative action the balance would shift due to academically unqualified minorities. This diversity is necessary for UC to receive federal money (6).
Burdman outlined the alternate ideas proposed by the administration that would act somewhat the same as affirmative action. These would give minorities and social/economically disadvantaged students an edge towards admittance through assignment of special points (6). Details of the new guidelines established by SP-1, including the non-academic criteria such as special talents, disabilities, or overcoming extreme hardships, under which 25 to 50% of freshman could be admitted were revealed ( 4). Burdman also presented the consequences of the abolishment of affirmative action by noting that medical schools in California are not receiving their usual number of applications from minority whiz kids. California’s schools are becoming known as “inhospitable” and the number of non-Asian minority applications dropped 22% (7). In conclusion, she described the turmoil and strife that engulfed the campus and how UC is relying on a new administration to mend this rift. (6). After all, strong academic performances by all ethnic groups is the shared wish of every educator. Affirmative action will not be necessary if this goal is accomplished and there will be no need to argue (14).
A related article “Still Choosing by Color” by Michael Lynch...