NBC12 VIEWPOINT: Affirming Affirmative Action in Colleges and Universities

By: Kym Grinnage email

On Tuesday of this week, the Supreme Court upheld Michigan's ban on the use of race as a factor in admission to state colleges and universities. If you have been following the Supreme Court's rulings over the past few years, their decision should not surprise you and you will see other states around the country follow in Michigan's footsteps. Although the Supreme Court was not addressing affirmative action directly, to some their message was clear.

So what does this mean for public colleges and universities in the state of Virginia? First we must be reminded that schools like the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary and Virginia State University currently use race as a factor in their college admissions policies. For now, nothing will change, but change may be in Virginia's future. You should also know that many private colleges and universities in Virginia and around the country use race, income and other affirmative action policies in the selection of their students. And they don't do it because of mandates; they do because it is part of their deliberate policy.

A little know fact is that race has been used at historically black colleges and universities to award scholarships and financial aid to white students based on race; and that is a fair and equitable policy.

So what do I think? I believe that there should always be room for colleges and universities to have affirmative action policies. But there must be a new discussion about what affirmative action means today and what do we want to accomplish. The key is that there should be much discussion before a vote.

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