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The effort to equalize education opportunities in learning institutions has resulted in the inclusion of a form of affirmative action that seeks to consider disadvantaged groups such as the non-whites and women. However, in the United States, various interest groups have challenged affirmative action regarding it as an effort to reverse discrimination (Affolter, 2013). In this light, this paper examines the claims presented by two students concerning discrimination in the admission criteria at Green Mountain University. The first student is Bob Jones whose admission request was declined on an affirmative basis targeting to attract more African-American students. The other student is Joan Daley whose admission request is accepted because she is an African-American. This policy is meant to encourage diversity of the student body that is currently saturated with students from the Caucasian background.
Evaluating the claim
Admission policies are a set of guidelines formulated by the university body mandated with the recruitment and admission of students. For an applicant to be considered for admission to a certain program, s/he must attain certain provisions as stipulated in the institution’s policy. However, a valid admission policy should constitute requirements that involve diversity and equality. Admission policies should enhance diversity by ensuring that they consider some aspects such as religion, gender, culture, and race. In this case, students can benefit from the educational aspects of diversity. Besides, institutions that encourage diversity on all grounds enhance integration and assist students in appreciating the beliefs and values of others.
Admission policies should target to recruit high performers from disadvantaged societies. The policies should formulate a criterion to ensure that those students who perform well and have financial challenges to access higher education are considered. Considering recruitment from low-income backgrounds might assist the many African-Americans who might have suffered the disadvantages of discrimination. This kind of policy can help bridge the gap between the affluent and the underprivileged in the community. According to Affolter (2013), the future of the United States’ socio-economic and political progress is largely based on women’s empowerment. Thus, based on development interests, admission policies should seek to improve the number of women in their learning institutions.
Admission should also be based on merit. Even though performance is a major consideration for a valid admission policy, it should consider that some applicants come from predominantly low-income classes where performance is influenced by poor livelihood (Affolter, 2013). In this case, the admission test and interviews conducted to evaluate competence should be structured to favor applicants from poor backgrounds. Given that some instances such as those of Jones and Delay are highly competitive and do not fall under this policy, it becomes inevitable to seek further considerations such as gender. Since the current composition in nearly all universities is male-dominated, it is reasonable to consider Delay ahead of Jones.
A university can apply an affirmative action if the number of minority groups such as non-whites and the female is relatively low. Additionally, when there are tightly competing applicants, it is highly recommendable to initiate affirmative action. The affirmative action serves to ensure equal opportunity in admission and challenging decisions such as the one between Jones and Delay. For instance, the case of Ms. Delay indicates that Green Mountain seeks to improve the diversity and help the Caucasian students to learn and appreciate diversity.
Was the university’s decision justified?
Admitting Ms. Delay was due to an affirmative action to take a unique look at applicants of all races as well as gender. This decision was justified since there was a pressing need to enhance integration via increasing the number of African-Americans in the institution. This decision was not light to make since it could invite connotations of reverse discrimination. Furthermore, concerning merit, both applicants were qualified but it was of greater significance considering M.s Delay on the gender basis. The numbers of African-Americans are still discouraging, and American institutions can only achieve integration if cases such as Delay’s are given an upper hand. Although sensitive race policy might not be enough to offer Delay admission, giving the chance to Jones would have weakened diversity and encourage male dominance.
Green Mountain University sets a good example of how affirmative action should be applied to settle competing interests in admission policies. In all perspective, Green Mountain University’s decision was not meant to compensate for past inequalities encountered by African-Americans but to set precedence for tackling similar cases in the future. However, with time there is the possibility that affirmative action will lose meaning when the disadvantaged groups rise to equal opportunities. Thus, the university administrators together with policymakers should act fast and design models to avoid foreseeable reverse discrimination.
Affolter, J. (2013). Fighting Discrimination with Discrimination: Public Universities and the Rights of Dissenting Students. Ratio Jurisdiction Journal, 26(2), 235-261.