Affirmative Action

"The state shall not discriminate, or grant preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting." The previous statement is the unedited text of the operative part of Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), that passed November fifth by a percentage of 54 to 46. Though the initiative does not actually mention affirmative action, Californians feel affirmative action may be coming to an end. Will the decision of Proposition 209 have a great impact on colleges and universities? We will soon find out. We do know that affirmative action in colleges and universities has a long history of controversy sparked by the 1978 Bakke case and seems to be far from over with the recent vote on proposition 209. The Supreme Court's 1978 decision in the Regents of the University of California v. Bakke has been the basis for most college affirmative action programs. The case involved a white man, Allen Bakke, who applied for admission to, and was rejected by California University at Davis Medical School in 1973 and 1974. The university had an affirmative action program to accept sixteen Black, Hispanic, and Asian students for every 100 entering. Allen Bakke objected when he found out that he had been turned down while minorities students with lower college grades and MCAT scores had been admitted under the university's affirmative action program. The court then had been divided between four justices in favor of admitting Bakke on the basis that the quota affirmative Maloney 2 action plan had violated Title Four of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, four Justices against admitting Bakke, and Justice Powell, the swing vote. Justice Powell declared that Allen Bakke would be admitted to the medical school because the University of California's affirmative action plan had violated t…

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