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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Race-neutral admissions policies can work

    According to Abigail Fisher, she was rejected from her dream school because she is white.

    Of course, the University of Texas, Austin, says she wasn’t good enough for the school anyway, but because of her rejection, Fisher — now four years removed from the admission process — is suing the university for its affirmative action policy. The Supreme Court began hearing arguments on Wednesday.

    The UA does not have an affirmative action policy; it examines applicants’ socioeconomic backgrounds instead of their race. Not that it’s a big deal, since we let the majority of applicants in anyway, as the UA’s 71.4 percent acceptance rate demonstrates.
    But for more “prestigious” schools, the high court’s decision could have a huge impact.

    As a white male from an affluent suburban community, I don’t have too much to provide from the perspective of someone who has been dogged with racism for all his life. But I am also a college student, and I’m directly affected by diversity on campus.

    Yes, racism still exists and is still relevant.

    And yes, affirmative action has done amazing things in allowing minorities to go to college. It has come to the point where college isn’t just for rich white people any more, and that is fantastic.

    However, if a black student and a white student are applying to the same school and have the exact same qualifications, but the black student has wealthy parents and the white student went to public schools in the inner city, affirmative action would admit the black person.

    When we are admitting and rejecting people based on race in order to fill a quota, we’re being racist — even if it’s for good.

    It’s an important part of the college environment to learn about people from different backgrounds, and it’s incredibly important to have diversity on campus, simply because of the many perspectives that diversity brings to the table.

    But the UA doesn’t have an affirmative action program, and we’re pretty diverse. It may be because of our low admissions standards, but it could also be because of our holistic approach to all applicants.

    The UA’s freshman class grows more diverse each year. Minority retention rates went up across the board this year, with black student retention growing the most, by 9.7 percentage points. A race-neutral policy can work.

    Hopefully we reach the day when color no longer matters in the college admissions process and a race box isn’t necessary on an application, but that won’t happen as long as schools have quotas of certain races to fill.

    The first step in creating equality is to look holistically at an application, disregard color and focus more on the student as an individual to see exactly what he or she will bring to campus; not to make assumptions based on what he or she looks like.

    I’m being idealistic. I know I’m just a white guy. But there comes a time when we need to look past color and see an individual instead. What better place to start than on progressive college campuses?

    — Dan Desrochers is a pre-journalism sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu and on twitter @drdesrochers .

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