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The application of affirmative action policies to university admissions is a topic of ongoing controversy. This article (ex)amines the debate through an interdisciplinary lens, drawing on the fields of history, law, and ethics. The first section provides historical background on affirmative action policies, tracing how they expanded from the employment sector into higher education. Next examined are legal challenges to affirmative action in admissions, with a focus on the pivotal 1978 Bakke case. The ethical implications of affirmative action are next considered, in particular the question of how affirmative action can be applied in a way that supports disenfranchised groups while avoiding discrimination against other groups. In the final part of the article, the argument is made that affirmative action remains valuable to promote inclusion and diversity in admissions, but adjustments must be made to minimize its negative consequences, especially as the demographics of American universities change.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.



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