Argument: Schools have right to improve diversity in ways of their choosing

Issue Report: Affirmative action

Extended argument and supporting evidence

“Affirmative Action.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. April 1, 2009: “Diversity is many things insisted Powell; it cannot be reduced to one thing. But why not? This question—and Justice O’Connor’s acquiescence in the Law School’s way of framing its affirmative action goal—spotlights a crucial gap in Powell’s Bakke opinion. Diversity is many things—so many things, in fact, that institutions will think it worthwhile to concentrate on some diversity factors rather than others. One college may emphasize admitting foreign students; another may make its mission to educate poor students; a third may specialize in getting science students who have shown unusual promise in high school. If colleges have a legally protected interest in choosing a diverse student body, why don’t they have a legally protected interest in deciding which part of the diversity spectrum to single out for special attention? If they can single out a part of the spectrum, why can’t they use a simple device like set-asides to effect their purpose?”


See also