Raced-Based Admissions in Higher Education

Topics: University, Racism, Affirmative action Pages: 6 (1746 words) Published: March 6, 2013
Race-Based Admission in Higher Education
Linh Nguyen
Northeastern University

Professor Daniel Volchok
EDU 6220
Section 1
November 8, 2012

Race-Based Admission in Higher Education

In 1992, a young White woman by the name of Cheryl Hopwood applied to the University of Texas Law School. Although she had above average LSAT scores and a good undergraduate grade point average, she was denied admission. Four years later Hopwood, along with four other plaintiffs, filed a lawsuit against the University of Texas Law School for reverse discrimination (Savage). This was the first case to challenge race-based admissions since the 1978 Supreme Court Ruling that race could be used as a factor in considering admissions. Furthermore, the Hopwood case has pushed the critical examination of affirmative action into the forefront. Affirmative action is a term used to describe the laws and social policies that are implemented as a means to alleviate discrimination that limits opportunities of various racial groups (Crosby p. 587). It was created to end discrimination and promote equal opportunity in education and work (Crosby p. 588). In order to increase the amount of minorities on college campuses, universities began to consider race as a factor in their admissions decisions. The decision to include race as a factor in admissions is controversial. Many arguments for affirmative action in college admissions argue on behalf of the universities’ goals and aspirations. However, college students also gain educational benefits from race-based admissions policies. The first case to challenge race-based admissions was the 1978 Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (Bowen and Bok p. 10). However, recently there have been many lawsuits filed against universities’ admissions policies. For example, in addition to the 1996 case of Hopwood v. State of Texas, the University of Michigan was also sued. In 1997, the Center for Individual Rights (CIR), a Washington, DC based civil rights organization, filed a lawsuit against the University of Michigan on behalf of two White students who were denied admission to the school's undergraduate program (Pettypiece). The CIR also filed a lawsuit on behalf of three other White students who were denied admission to the University of Washington. Many of these lawsuits claim that the plaintiffs were denied admission under a system that gave preferences to some groups of students because of their race (Pettypiece). People who opposed race-admission policies have several reasons why they feel this type of policy should be banned. One reason is a moral argument that society should be colorblind. Opponents argue that focusing on racial difference is wrong and can aggravate racial tensions on campus (Bowen and Bock p. 56). Ward Connerly, a University of California Board of Regents member and opponent to race-based admissions, states that this type of policy perpetuates racial inequality (Connerly B6). However, this argument assumes that all people are treated equally and judged on merit (Dovidio and Gaertner p. 4). It fails to address that discrimination and racism still exists today (Dovidio and Gaertner p. 6). Another argument against race-based admissions is that less qualified students are admitted into college in order to fill a quota. Opponents argue that admitting minority students who are less qualified is more costly and requires universities to implement more remedial programs and special services to help these students adjust to college (Altbach, Lomotey, and Kyle p. 460). However, the assumption that minority students are less qualified and require more remedial services is a racial stereotype. In fact, most minority students who apply to colleges are highly qualified (Bowen and Bock p. 19). Furthermore, race-based admission is not a quota system. It is a system that takes racial background into account in conjunction with many other criteria (Bowen and Bock p. 24). There are many other...

Cited: Altbach, P., Lomotey, K., and Kyle, S.. (1999). “Race in Higher Education: The
Continuing Crisis.” American Higher Education in the Twenty-first Century: Social,
Bowen, W. and Bok, D. (1994) The Shape of the River: Long Term Consequences of
Considering Race in College and University Admissions
Chang, M. (1999) “Does Racial Diversity Matter? The Educational Impact of a Racially Diverse
Undergraduate Population.” Journal of College Student Development
Connerly, W. (2000) “My fight against race preferences: A quest toward creating equal." The
Chronicle of Higher Education
Crosby, Faye. (1994) “Understanding affirmative action”. Basic and Applied Social Psychology.
Retrieved November 01, 2012 from http://carmine.se.edu/cvonbergen/Understanding%20Affirmative%20Action.pdf
Dovidio, J. F., and Gaertner, S. (1998) “On the Nature of Contemporary Prejudice:
The Causes, Consequences, and Challenges of Aversive Racism.” Confronting Racism:
Gurin, P. (1999) “Expert report of Patricia Gurin, in the Compelling need for Diversity in Higher
Education.” Gratz et al
Decision.” Retrieved November 01, 2012 from
01, 2012 from http://articles.latimes.com/1996-07-02/news/mn-20393_1_high-court
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Affirmative Action in Higher Education Essay
  • Higher Education Essay
  • Higher Education, or Higher Priced Education? Essay
  • Higher education Essay
  • The Higher Price of Higher Education Essay
  • Higher Education Essay
  • Essay on Higher Education
  • Higher Education Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free