Respect for diversity in every social sector is highly valued in the United States, and educational institutions implement practices to support it among the students. One of the tools to assist the minority representatives in getting the equal opportunity to get a university degree is affirmative action – the approach of considering an enrolee’s race in admissions (Law360, 2020). Elite University utilizes the tool for the last several years and gives members of underrepresented groups a greater chance for acceptance. Affirmative action created a more diverse environment for the university’s students, however, it also raised the question of whether the benefits for enrolees of color limits opportunities for other attendants. Elite University has been sued by Ms. Claire Danes – a white woman who claimed that race discrimination took place during the applications’ evaluation. This essay aims to prove that the University should continue applying affirmative action for applicants to promote and maintain diversity among its students.
Several legal cases appeared against universities that applied affirmative action during enrolments. In 1978, the U.S. Supreme Court declined the quotas for universities based on race, yet the approach of considering that factor remained constitutional. It was the decision of the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S., 265 (1978), where a white male sued Californian Medical school for unfair discrimination. However, the Court concluded that the “special admissions program was not the least intrusive means of achieving the goals of the admittedly compelling state interests of integrating the medical profession.” id. at 360. The precedent was then included as an argument for new cases on the affirmative action implementation for higher education.
The U.S. Supreme Court declined the constitutional basis of affirmative action in Grutter v. Bollinger in 2003. The defendant, Law School of the University of Michigan, argued that race is not the most influential part of an undergraduate application evaluation. In Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S., 306 (2003), the court “rejected the argument that the Law School should have used other race-neutral means to obtain the educational benefits of student body diversity.” id. at 356. The Court supported the racial factor as it provided a “holistic review” of an enrolee’s application. This decision made universities continue considering race in undergraduate admissions, however, new lawsuits occurred based on providing benefits for the minority groups.
Abigail N. Fisher, a Caucasian, was rejected for admission to the University of Texas that implemented affirmative action for applicants and alleged that race consideration violated the Equal Protection Clause. In Fisher v. the University of Texas, 570 U.S., 297 (2013), it was disclosed that “universities had an offer sufficient evidence to prove that its admissions program is narrowly tailored to obtain the educational benefits of diversity.” id. at 298. The recent case, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, alleged the university’s discrimination against Asian-American undergraduate applicants. The Court discovered that Harvard did not implement any race balancing practices that could harm representatives of minorities and admitted that race-neutral approaches do not suffice the evaluation requirements (Law360, 2020). In February 2020, the Students for Fair Admissions group filed an appeal to the judge’s decision to revise the most significant lawsuits about affirmative action and race factor’s influence.
The experiences related to affirmative action in the universities reveal that diversity is valued by the Court and is necessary to be supported among students to build an adequate society. The argument for the Elite University to continue applying affirmative action is that consideration of race is an effective practice to get a holistic review of applicants. Defendants in Grutter v. Bollinger and Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard proved that race-neutral approaches are not useful for maintaining a diverse environment in universities. Another argument in defense of affirmative action is that students with relatively high scores will be accepted regardless of beneficial points for minority groups’ representatives. In Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the Court concluded that undergraduates’ competition does not violate Federal Laws. Universities apply their standards to satisfy the demand for high-quality professionals, and affirmative action provides the opportunity to maintain diversity among various jobs.
The counterargument for the Elite University to continue to utilize affirmative action is that Although the Fisher v. University of Texas Supreme Court confirmed that the practice does not violate Equal Protection Clause, applicants might still find reverse discrimination in the benefits for minor groups’ representatives. However, each enrolee is evaluated by many parameters, and race is not the most crucial one. Another counterargument for the thesis is the risk of being sued by groups who suspect that the university applies race quotas to promote diversity. The Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard revealed the inability of raw statistics about the number of students belonging to a particular minority group to determine if a university is involved in race balancing.
Affirmative action is a proven approach to create and maintain a diverse environment in educational facilities to improve society and establish a healthy perception of equity among students. Although Ms. Claire Danes’ lawsuit was long and expensive, Elite University has to continue giving benefits to the minority groups’ representatives because it is legal, based on the precedents of similar cases, and more effective than the race-neutral evaluation of undergraduate applications. Moreover, affirmative action helps increase diversity in all institutions by forming equally professional individuals and providing underrepresented members with the opportunity to build a thriving future.
Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 570 U.S., 297 (2013).
Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S., 306 (2003).
Law360, Barrett puts affirmative action in play as Harvard case looms, Law360. (2020), Web.
Regents of University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S., 265 (1978).