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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Affirmative action doesn’t help

    Last month, the Obama administration issued guidance to colleges and universities on how to increase racial diversity on campuses. Some support the administration’s dedication to diversity, and its ability to “contribute to the educational, economic and civic life of this nation,” as the Department of Education said. Still, many universities have been struggling with the repercussions of affirmative action for years. If we as Americans truly believe that no one should be judged by the color of their skin then race should no longer be a factor for consideration in universities.

    The benefits of diversity are undeniable. If every student or worker had the same race, economic background, religion and/or sexual orientation, then all communication would be gathered and interpreted in the same way. This is why the UA has been trying to increase diversity for years. Without it, our student body would largely consist of people who grew up in Phoenix suburbs, which would create a very restricted worldview in terms of communicating universal information.

    However, as listed above, diversity is not restricted to skin color alone. If affirmative action were implemented in order to achieve the highest amount of diversity, it would have to include everyone who is not the “typical” American citizen. This would lead to widespread reverse discrimination, which is equally as unfair as discriminating against minorities.

    Since universities are academic institutions, students should be admitted based solely upon their academic merits. At the University of Texas at Austin, 80 percent of the student body graduated high school in the top 10 percent of their class. The remaining 20 percent was admitted based upon other individual assessments, including race. This 20 percent has proven challenging to the university because of their lack of academic success. That very reason is why the university has filed a lawsuit in hopes of reviewing the need for affirmative action, and it is one of three universities currently waiting to hear from the Supreme Court about affirmative action problems.

    This is not to say that students admitted by affirmative action are unable to succeed at UT Austin, or at any other university. However it is unfair, both to the student and to the university, to accept someone into an academic institution if they are unable to perform at the expected academic level, especially if it means denying someone who is more qualified.

    The top 80 percent at UT Austin includes more than just white students. This is not surprising — skin color does not influence one’s intelligence. If this is true, then colorblind admissions would not compromise a university’s diversity.

    America consists of people from many different cultures and backgrounds, all of which deserve equal treatment in society. None of these people should be judged by their differences, and even if this judgment has good intention, it does nothing to help discrimination. As Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. said in 2007, “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” Our universities should consider this thought.

    — Lauren Shores is a journalism sophomore. She can reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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