What is it? • Affirmative action programs grant preferences to underrepresented groups in admissions & hiring • Programs are meant to make up for past and/or present discrimination
Legal Basis • The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits states from denying persons equal protection under the law. • The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed to eliminate practices that favored white men.
University of California v. Bakke (1978) • 16/100 medical school slots were reserved for minority/low income applicants • Quotas: certain # must be admitted • Bakke, a white male, was denied admission twice. • Those admitted under the quota had lower MCAT scores and GPAs than Bakke.
The Bakke Decision • The Court invalidated the quota as unconstitutional • BUT upheld some affirmative action programs
Gratz v. Bollinger(2003) • Gratz, a white student, wanted admission to the University of Michigan • 20 / 100 points were assigned to applicants from underrepresented minority groups.
Grutter v. Bollinger • Grutter, a white student applied to law school • Applicants were evaluated based on all information available in their files, including race.
Let’s look at how it worked…. • Hand out points system • Who’s right?
Gratz/Grutter Decisions • Gratz won, SC threw out points system • Grutter lost, because the Court found that racial diversity is a compelling state interest, and the admissions process looked at many factors
The Future • Justice O’Connor said that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary. • Today, narrowly tailored affirmative action programs are legal, but not mandated. • A California initiative passed that eliminated affirmative action.
In CA…affirmative action is illegal due to a proposition • Top % of each HS is automatically accepted at a UC or Cal State • Is this fair?