Thursday, February 23, 2012

Supreme Court Will Rule On Affirmative Action In Colleges

In a case that will likely have ripple effects across this country's higher education system, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case brought by a Texas student who contends that ethnicity-based affirmative action kept her out of the University of Texas. The university uses ethnicity as a factor in admitting a quarter of its applicants, with underrepresented minorities given an edge over others. The student sued because she thought she would have been admitted had ethnicity not been a factor because her grades were better than many candidates who were admitted.

According to the L.A. Times, the case could possibly end affirmative action at public colleges. Many states, including California, no longer allow such policies. UT, however, is out to preserve its admissions process. Its president told the paper "The university is firmly committed to a holistic admissions policy that is narrowly tailored to achieve the educational benefits of a diverse student body."

The issue is a contentious one, with vigorous arguments on both sides, but I think it's tough to rationalize basing admission standards on anything but merit. If there's any segment that's underrepresented and worthy of preferential treatment, it's economically disadvantaged students who lack the resources and connections of their wealthier counterparts. Skin color and heritage should not be a plus or minus on a college application.

Supreme Court to consider affirmative action in higher education [L.A. Times]

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