Affirmative Action in Higher Education Law Name of Student Class, Subject Name of Professor 28th Nov, 2013 Abstract Affirmative Action has been one of the most litigated areas in America . Complex laws have been enacted to regulate affirmative action whether in employment or education…
A period of legal certainty is closely followed by a longer period of uncertainty. The objective of this paper is to critically analyze the place of affirmative action in higher education today. Key words: Affirmative action, compensation, discrimination, diversity, higher education. Affirmative Action in Higher Education Law Doverspike, Taylor and Arthur (2006) define affirmative action as “policies or procedures which attempt to increase the representation of an underrepresented, protected group (primarily minority or female but may include other groups such as aged) in education or employment through consideration in decision making of an applicant’s race, sex, or other protected group status” (p.5). Affirmative action has been employed as the primary tool for addressing gender, racial and ethnic inequalities. Education has been one of the key battlegrounds in the application of affirmative action evidenced by the popular cases such as Brown v The Board of Education (1954). This is because education is highly valued in the American society due to its ability to impact on the life of an individual. Graduating from a selective institution enhances one’s life chances and increases the likelihood of entering a position of corporate or political leadership (Mullen, 2012). There exists a rich and complex legal framework that governs affirmative action in higher education. ...
The debate Affirmative action is a focal point of public debate because of political and legal developments at the federal, state and local levels. Events that shaped the modern day affirmative action dates back to 1860s, especially following the promulgation of the 14th amendment. The amendment forbade states from enacting laws that denied American equal protection of the laws. It suffered setbacks for instance following the Supreme Court’s decision in Plessy v Fergusson where the court held that separate but equal accommodation did not violate the constitution giving rise to segregationist tendencies across United States. The modern day term ‘affirmative action’ traces its origin to President Kennedy, who in 1961 through Executive Order number 10925, introduced methods to address discrimination which had persisted regardless of constitutional guarantees and civil rights laws. It was developed and first enforced by President Johnson who put practical measures that transformed equality as a theory to equality in fact and result (Brunner and Rowen, 2007). Argument in Favor of Affirmative Action There are two core arguments that justify affirmative action. First, affirmative action ensures diversity in any democratic society. If left to chance, diversity can never be achieved. Part of the education process is to prepare students to interact with people from other nationalities. It prepares students to be better citizens in a democratic state. Americans come from diverse background, and America is set to become more diverse in the decades to come (Kowalski, 2006, p. 38). America prides itself on the diversity of its citizenry. Institutions and the whole academic field benefit holistically from diversity because ...
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