The truth, however, is far more complicated and complex.While the language of “equal treatment” sounds fair, the effect of such supposedly “color-blind” practices in the college admissions context is the opposite of fair.
The recent news that the Trump administration may use the U. Justice Department’s front office to investigate the use of affirmative action in colleges and universities demonstrates the challenge of clear and accurate communication regarding this hot-button subject.
When a simple idea clashes with one that is complicated and nuanced, often the truth loses out.
Applicants from certain minority groups often do not come to the admissions competition on equal footing.
Some minority students, though demonstrating great promise, have not had access to the level of academic preparation and economic opportunity that their majority counterparts have had.
(While affirmative action opponents are fond of reducing the debate to racial identity, universities define diversity quite broadly in practice and look across the range of human experience, talent and identity to compose an incoming class.) Students learn from the perspectives of others -- especially when those perspectives run counter to common stereotypes.
They discover how to work within a cross-cultural team, grapple with difficult conversations and re-examine their own assumptions.
Cornell has been accessible to students from all backgrounds since the university’s inception.
The first female undergraduate student entered in the fall of 1870, and in 1880, May Preston became the first woman to earn a Ph. In 1906, seven Cornell students founded the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity for African American Men, Alpha Phi Alpha.
At a campus that is truly working hard on diversity in the student experience, students gain a powerful set of skills they cannot get anywhere else, which better prepares them to be successful in a global marketplace.
The positive impact of diversity is not just some “fuzzy” argument that educators came up with to defend their practices.