Point-Counterpoint: Pro

Ben Pauli

Affirmative action is a hotly disputed and complex issue faced by many aspects of society including the academic world. I believe that there is a great misconception, however, about the role that race currently plays in college admissions. Many feel that reverse discrimination is commonplace in admissions and that under-qualified applicants are being unfairly admitted to prestigious colleges because of their race. Fortunately, this type of racial discrimination is simply not happening. In a series of court cases the Supreme Court found that racial quotas and other university policies that are not narrowly tailored to minimize reverse discrimination are unconstitutional. They ruled that race can only be considered as one of many factors when considering a college applicant. Such policy, they argued, would allow colleges to have racially diverse student bodies – something they considered a significant benefit to the campus communities. Furthermore, the court emphasized that such policy should be considered short-term with the belief that it would only be necessary until the time when the glaring racial discrepancies in such things as economics and standardized tests are eliminated. I would consider this type of affirmative action to be completely justified, in fact necessary. Having a diverse campus community is extremely beneficial to colleges as it increases the range of opinions, backgrounds and experiences that, together, form a robust community and learning environment. Additionally, one’s race, under the court’s ruling, is not the only factor considered when evaluating an applicant’s possible contribution to campus diversity. Such factors as what state one is from, whether the applicant comes from an urban or rural environment or what his or her economic upbringing was like can also be considered on the same plane. Such factors, taken together, ensure that college campuses can be, like Lawrence, more than just academic bodies but diverse communities with the free exchange of many different viewpoints. Ben Pauli