Protect Equality in Higher Education: Support Inclusive Admissions Policies

Target: Betsy DeVos, U.S. Secretary of Education

Goal: Keep affirmative action policies that help minority students obtain a quality education.

Inclusive admissions policies are facing a new threat. While some may claim we live in a more color-blind society today, recent incidents remind us of the potential error of this assumption. Within the past few weeks, African Americans have been reported to authorities for everyday activities that include swimming in a public pool, barbecuing, and even selling lemonade. As such incidents—along with highly charged rhetoric—reinforce that true equality is still a battle, the Trump administration has taken steps to drive diversity out of higher education… under the guise of enacting ‘color-blind’ policies.

A new government policy, like many before it, attacks guidelines from the Obama administration: guidelines that encourage colleges and universities to factor race into admissions decisions. The guidance does not demand higher education institutions consider race and only race in its decision-making processes, bur rather that these institutions make efforts to ensure a diverse student body. Research has indicated that promoting diversity within education creates better outcomes for all students, particularly low-income students who might not benefit from the same educational opportunities as their wealthier peers.

Further, affirmative action policies have remained a long-standing precedent for the past four decades. These policies strive to neutralize both subtle and pronounced discrimination against minorities. Just recently, an African American valedictorian was barred from speaking at his graduation ceremony with no explanation provided. If this bright young man were to encounter the same suspiciously prejudicial behavior when he applies for college, such discrimination could have repercussions for his entire career.

In a time when racism and prejudice are seemingly becoming more normalized, the United States cannot afford to hobble equality under the pretense of supporting equality. Sign this petition to demand the Department of Education do its job and support diverse, inclusive education.

PETTION LETTER:

Dear Secretary DeVos,

By replacing an educational admissions policy that promotes classroom diversity with an allegedly ‘color-blind’ policy, you have upended forty years of precedent and in the process set educational opportunity back forty years.

The Supreme Court—the highest law in the land—recently affirmed the use of affirmative action as an instrument for educational inclusion and non-discriminatory practices. One of the nation’s premier institutions of learning, Harvard University, recommitted itself to continuing an affirmative action policy it strongly believes bolsters a “diverse campus community where students from all walks of life have the opportunity to learn with and from each other.”

Studies from the very individuals who graduate from these prestigious institutions continually demonstrate the benefits of such policies for students who may not otherwise have an opportunity due to income status, familial background, or the ever-present, under-the-radar prejudices that still prevent African Americans and other minority workers from earning the same wages as their majority-status counterparts.

If we must take steps to ensure a fair shot for all applicants, perhaps we could instead eliminate the sizable donations some wealthy donors offer to select institutions  in order to secure a spot for their academically under-performing children. Closing doors for minorities is not, nor will it ever be, the answer to greater opportunity for all.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Greenwich Education Group

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One Comment

  1. gen agustsson says:

    end racist laws now!

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