Articles

Reviving Affirmative Action in Schools

In NLLSA on October 27, 2009 by emgonz

No cheating!

No cheating!

A call has been made for all Latino/a law students to help in achieving more diversity in our schools.

Professor Deirdre Bowen, Professor of Legal Writing at Seattle University School of Law, has asked for NLLSA’s help in contesting anti-affirmative action.  NLLSA can do so by filling out a short survey which will help in her research.  Her research strives to contest anti-affirmative action, arguing that there is still a need for affirmative action, that the benefits of affirmative action are plentiful, and that school’s should still be striving for diversity.

Please see below for comments from Professor Bowen which describes the purpose of the study, and what we can do to help in trying to once again promote affirmative action and diversity in the classroom.

If you are interested in your Latino Law Student Organization participating in the survey, please contact emgonz11@gmail.com and your organization will be sent hard copies of the survey.  The survey will also be posted to the blog, but preferred in hard copy form.

Here is a message from Professor Bowen to NLLSA.

Here is what I am proposing to study:

Affirmative action was designed to redress institutional racism that created barriers for people of color in education and job opportunities. Almost since its inception, affirmative action has been met with resistance. In the most recent cases, the Michigan cases, the affirmative action camp found success in relying on a concept called “Critical mass.”  The idea is that affirmative action is worthwhile if it is used to create diversity. Indeed, the majority in Grutter embraced critical mass as an analogy for some meaningful number of students in the classroom, without specifically defining it. However, because there is so much resistance to giving critical mass a specific definition within the legal context for fear of the concept being unmasked as just another way of saying “quota”, there is little research on how exactly students of color, the very students who should benefit from it, define it and view it. My study seeks to answer these questions. Are students of color able to give a concrete definition to critical mass? If so, what are the perceived benefits or disadvantages of relying on this concept? Finally, have students of color ever been in a situation in which critical mass was achieved? If so, did it transform the students educational experience. If so, how?

If students would like to read my paper that this study builds on, they can find it by clicking on the link below. My previous work challenges the myths of the anti-affirmative action camp regarding stigma and hostility and finds that more stigma and hostility exists on college campuses located in states that ban affirmative action. The name of the article is Brilliant Disguise: An empirical assessment of a social experiment banning affirmative action.

http://ssrn.com/author=970204

Thank you,

Professor Deirdre Bowen

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