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Monday, May 6, 2019

Affirmative Action in Washington State

Scott Jaschik at Insider Higher Ed:
Twenty years ago, Washington State voters put in place the ban [consideration of race in admissions] that the Legislature is now lifting. In Washington State, the Legislature has the power to repeal such referenda; in some other states with bans, the state's voters would need to repeal them. But just as voters once decided the issue, they could do so again. Already critics of affirmative action are organizing a campaign to restore the ban. And campus Republican groups are organizing events to oppose the legislative action to restore the consideration of race in admissions.
A petition seeking to keep the ban on affirmative action says, "I-1000 [the measure passed by the Legislature] can be summed up in one sentence: it would abolish the standard of equality for all, regardless of race, as required by I-200, and replace it with a system that uses different rules for people of different races."
The developments in Washington State come at a time when a lawsuit against Harvard University over affirmative action -- if appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court as expected -- could have an impact on colleges nationwide. Washington State shows that the impact varies in part based on state populations and the competitiveness of public colleges and universities.