Taking Away Affirmative Action = Taking a Step Backwards



Mitch Van Cleave

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Harvard University is currently being sued by a group of rejected Asian-American students. The group argues that the school racially discriminated against them by denying admission in favor of African-American and Latino applicants. Harvard denies these allegations, saying their admission policies, “do not discriminate against any applicant within the group.”

To explain this entire situation, you first have to understand the Harvard application process. Students applying to Harvard are classified in five different sections: academic, athletic, extracurricular achievement, personal qualities, and an overall rating. Statistically, Asian-American applicants score much lower in the personal qualities, and the overall rating. The personality portion reportedly assesses, “positive personality,” and good, “human qualities.” The area where this gets fuzzy, is when it comes to the overall rating. According to Harvard Magazine, the overall category is given, “…once the reader of a file steps back and considers all the factors of an admission file.”

The engineer behind this lawsuit representing the Asian-American group, Edward Blum, is a conservative strategist with no law degree, but with a history of targeting civil rights cases. Blum’s main goal is to exterminate affirmative action, which was an order signed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 with the goal to encourage employers to, “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” Affirmative action is necessary in eliminating racial bias and offering chances to students of all races. The idea behind affirmative action is to insure that Harvard isn’t full of kids with billionaire parents that just paid their way into the system. Blum is against diversity, and if his case succeeds, rich white students will be benefited above all others.

In this case, Harvard shouldn’t intentionally harm Asian-American students. If they are, this is a problem. The main issue that this boils down to though, is whether to include more than just academics when considering college applicants. Of course we should. Imagine that policy being enforced, no athletes would be admitted unless it was solely for their academics, and college sports would become extinct. Students participating in time consuming clubs such as NHS (National Honor Society) or FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) wouldn’t get any benefit from that when considering their application. Even if this was enforced, it would all lead back to whoever can pay the most money. Our goal as a society should be to give everyone an equal chance, regardless of where they come from. The success of this lawsuit pushes the disadvantages of poverty and low income even further. An impoverished student with a great mind and work ethic should get a college spot over a lazy, wealthy student every time. Policies like affirmative action benefit everyone. Diversity on college campuses leads to more diversity in America.

Editor’s Note: to view the opposing stance on this topic by Jane Elliston click here

Harvard University’s Need to End Discrimination

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