Response Paper

| November 5, 2020


Discussion 6
12 12 unread replies. 12 12 replies.
Affirmative action has been a contentious issue for many people. Should race and/or socio-economic background be factored into the college admissions process? What factors should schools consider when selecting prospective students? Is this a strong U.S. Supreme Court case? Does Edward Blum have ulterior motives in financially supporting the case? Does it matter?

“Harvard’s Affirmative Action Policy Goes On Trial.” All Things Considered, NPR, 14 October 2018, (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Discussion Grading Rubric
Proactive (10 points) Student responded to the discussion prompt in 6-8 complete sentences and articulated a clear viewpoint on the topic. Student incorporated relevant research, correctly cited at least 2 sources in MLA or APA format and used proper grammar.
???? (Students must provide an above average viewpoint on the discussion prompt, answer the question(s) in the discussion prompt, incorporate relevant research and cite the article used in the discussion prompt along with additional research.)

Substantial (7 points) Student responded to the discussion prompt in 6-8 complete sentences and answered the prompt in a generic manner. Student correctly cited work in MLA or APA format and used proper grammar.
???? (Students must answer the question(s) in the discussion prompt, provide more support to answer the prompt other than their personal opinion and at least cite the article used in the discussion prompt.)

Superficial (3 points) Student responded to the discussion prompt in 4-5 sentences and answered the prompt in a basic manner. Student used proper grammar.
???? (Students must attempt to answer all or a portion of the discussion prompt. Students will receive 3/11 points if they do not cite their work.)

Incorrect (0 points) Student did not submit a discussion post. Student plagiarized portions of the submission. Student did not cite work and/or use proper grammar.


Response to a Discussion Prompt

In pursuit of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, several colleges adopted affirmative action policies in their admissions to ensure greater diversity. However, the use of affirmative action remains an often-controversial as well as an ever-changing approach, with its opponents referring it as a reverse discrimination strategy. This paper supports the use of race, as one of the several strategies, to achieve a more socially and culturally diverse academic environment. This strategy should support access to higher education by special interest groups or historically discriminated groups like racial minorities and women. However, as ruled in 1978 by the US Supreme Court, the strategy should not establish a racial quota because such a move would be against the 14th Amendment’s clause on equal protection (Find Law).


Colleges can also use nonracial approaches such as a consideration to the alumni children, athletes, academic achievements, and socio-economic background, geography or a percentage plan (Golden). The case against Harvard University by Students for Fair Admissions challenging its affirmative action is likely to be a strong US Supreme Court case. If the plaintiff proves that indeed the University uses a racial quota system in its admissions, then the defendant will be liable for violation of the Supreme Court’s 1978 ruling.

On the other hand, the case could be a weaker one if the plaintiff fails to present facts that the defendant relies on the race only, and fails to explore other admissions methods. In its defense, the University may prove that it adopts a racial-neutral approach such as the personal scores, and in which the Asian-Americans perform poorly despite having the highest academic qualification (Jung). In addition, the Court may refer to its past cases such as Grutter and Fisher II to rule in favor of University if it finds that the use of the race was a justifiable strategy to achieve legitimacy of educational diversity (Orfield). The financial support for the case by Edward Blum is justified. Edward Blum is entitled to express his wishes and challenge actions that he feels are against the Civil Rights Act. This support does not matter as the jury will rely on the presented facts in reaching its determination.

Works Cited

Find Law. Affirmative action and college admissions. 2018. 15 November 2018.

Golden, Daniel. Debate over affirmative action in college admissions could be disastrous for legacy students. 16 July 2018. 15 November 2018.

Jung, Carrie. Harvard’s affirmative action policy goes on trial Shereen Marisol Meraji. 14 October 2018.

Orfield, Gary. “Alternative paths to diversity: Exploring and implementing effective college admissions policies.” ETS Research Report Series Vol. 2017 (1) (2017): 17-40.

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