The basis for current affirmative action policies at several universities and colleges across the nation takes into account applicants’ races in the admission process. The logic is that it is a means to improve campus diversity by improving the presence of underrepresented minorities.
However, this is flawed logic. Creating a diverse college campus by favoring certain races is not a rational scenario. Should race be a factor in college admission when it puts another student of equal merit at a disadvantage?
Consider this situation: Let a black or Hispanic student from an affluent background be of equal merit to a white or Asian student from a poor upbringing. With race as a factor in affirmative action, a black or Hispanic student will most likely be admitted over the white or Asian student.
The use of affirmative action is based on the assumption that it will create interactions among the students of various racial backgrounds, thus enhancing the learning environment and making it more supportive. However, this may not be true, as a Purdue University study shows that “interactions among diverse peers do not seem to make any difference as to whether students view the campus as supportive.”
Several states have passed initiatives to remove affirmative action in the college admission process in their respective public universities, including Michigan, California, Florida, Texas and Washington.
It might be more appropriate to implement affirmative action while taking the socioeconomic status of the students into consideration. High admission test scores are noted to be correlated with family income, as these students often pay for test prep or test retakes.
Affirmative action based on the socioeconomic status of students may prove to be the more rational solution. It is time to ban race-centric affirmative action in university admissions nationally or, at the very least, factor in students’ socioeconomic status instead. There is a need for some parity in the university admission process.
Raymond La is a freshman majoring in microbiology.