Affirmative action is vital for equity in education

Nacala Williams, Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator

 

The Supreme Court will revisit affirmative action in college admissions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With liberal Justices being outnumbered 6-3, the hearing could potentially end affirmative action.  

Affirmative action implements policies and procedures to improve educational and employment opportunities to underprivileged groups, minorities and women.These policies must continue to be a factor in college admissions, in order to increase equity in education and society. 

In places where affirmative action is banned, students of color are negatively affected. In California, affirmative action has been banned since 1996. This has created a double digit gap between the percentage of Latino high school graduates and those in University of California’s 2019 freshman class. 

Currently, around 14 percent of admitted Harvard students are Black and another 14 percent are Hispanic or “other.” Removing affirmative action at Harvard would drastically reduce the percentage of Black and Hispanic students admitted to six and nine percent, respectively.

An opportunity provided for Black and Brown students to attend Harvard or UNC is significant because they are denied countless other opportunities because of their race. These opportunities are not giving minorities unfair advantages, they are helping to level the playing field that has always favored white people. 

Historically, minorities have been denied educational opportunities. From 1619 to 1863 the vast majority of black people were slaves, who recieved zero education. Affirmative action gives qualified people of color equal opportunities to receive the quality education that white students have had access to for hundreds of years. 

Many believe affirmative action is reverse discrimination and takes away opportunities from white students. However, all of these universities remain majority white. Removing affirmative action will only further deny opportunities to underprivileged groups and widen the wealth and education gap between white people and minorities. •