Debate Rounds (4)
The purpose of any college is to educate its students. To do so, colleges bring in the students who best promote its purpose. Virtually every school in the nation realizes that diversity of some sort is ideal when it comes to college and that it should play a part in the admissions process, which is why it constantly does. However, for some reason, some believe that specifically race shouldn"t be a consideration when it comes to diversity, whereas many other factors are considered when it comes to diversity. There is simply no logic to the argument that race should not be considered when one looks at all of the other factors that are considered to promote diversity.
I would like to clarify that I am not arguing the belief that affirmative action should be upheld to placate past injustices or to make up for educational differences, but I am arguing that it should be upheld to promote diversity in the college environment, as it is an important part of the educational process. Students not only learn from their teachers, but they also learn much from their peers, and they will learn more if these peers represent different genders, locations, socioeconomic statuses, races and so on. Colleges operate upon a system that selects the students who will be the best "fit" for that school. To do this, they must go beyond test scores and GPAs to do so. This includes considering the interests, hobbies, location, sex, socioeconomic status, athletic abilities of the student, and even whether or not the student"s parents attended the university. If all of these factors, some arbitrary and others not, are already considered, why should race not be considered a viable criterion to consider? If affirmative action policies are unfair, then all of these other policies should be considered unfair, and colleges should simply select students based upon GPA and test scores. However, we know that these two factors are not the only things that determine whether the student is the best fit for the college and also that they do not necessarily determine academic promise or promote the goal of education.
I would like to make it clear that I do not believe affirmative action should work in such a way that it allows undeserving minorities into universities simply because of their skin color. I believe that all applicants should be able to handle the work given at the university, but race should be a factor when considering whether a student is determined as a "fit" for the college or not.
To further my argument, I will cite an affirmative action case where a student complained about the affirmative action policies in place at Harvard College. Harvard gave the following rationale for its policies in 1978 (and they won): "We care about diversity. Scholarly excellence alone has never been the sole criterion for admission to Harvard College. 15 years ago, diversity meant students from California and New York and Massachusetts; city dwellers and farm boys, violinists and painters and football players, biologists, historians and classicists. The only difference now," Harvard argued, "is that we"re adding racial and ethnic status to this long list of diversity considerations. When reviewing the large number of candidates able to do well in our classes race may count as a plus, just as coming from Iowa may count or being a good middle linebacker or pianist. A farm boy from Idaho can bring something to Harvard College that a Bostonian cannot offer. Similarly, a black student can usually bring something a white student cannot offer. The quality of the educational experience of all students depends in part on these differences in the background and outlook that these students bring with them." (http://racism.org...) The people from Harvard have figured it out, and I think it is time for the rest of us to do so, as well. A diverse student body at college is one that will be beneficial to all of the students who attend, it will expand the students" worldliness, enhance social development, prepare students for future career success, increase knowledge base, promote creative thinking, and enhance the multiple perspectives given by a liberal arts education. If you care about the quality of education in colleges today, you agree with the idea that diversity should be promoted in a college environment, and that race is one of the many ways to do so.
I, like the opposition, also believe that "diversity of some sort is ideal" for a wholesome experience in college. However, I claim that such diversity may be achieved without giving preferential treatment to certain races in admissions. When the University of California at Berkeley introduced race blind admissions, the numbers of African Americans and Latinos attending the university, while the Asian population rose a great deal. However, the percentage of Latinos in the university remained at 11%, which is only 4% below the American Population (http://www.browndailyherald.com...) . Furthermore, the percentage of African Americans in the university was 4%, which, while the state of California's population is 7% African American (http://diversity.berkeley.edu...). As such, even with race blind admissions, the college's student body was a fairly accurate simulation of the diversity in real life. To utilize affirmative action, in this case, would result in a larger percentage of minorities when compared to the actual population, giving students a false notion of how diverse real life is.
The opposition claims that " [he does] not believe affirmative action should work in such a way that it allows undeserving minorities into universities simply because of their skin color." However, from the makeup of UC Berkeley's student body before and after race blind admissions, it is clear that affirmative action does just that. Once race was no longer a factor in decisions, the number of African Americans and Latinos fell (while only by a few percent, still a significant amount), and the Asians admitted to the university rose dramatically. In light of this data, it can be concluded that undeserving minorities were being admitted to the university, and worse, high achieving students were denied admission simply due to their race. These percentages indicate that there were many students that deserved to go to the university, and would have gotten admission otherwise, but were denied, their places being given to African Americans or Latinos who would, if not "simply because of their skin color", have been admitted to the university.
While I do agree that diversity contributes to a positive learning environment, diversity in a college should satisfy two requirements. First, it should be an accurate representation of the diversity one will experience in real life. Otherwise, students will be given a skewed perception of what life is like, and will come to expect diversity where it does not exist. The second requirement is that the quality of students should not be sacrificed simply for the sake of diversity. As one can see from Berkeley's statistics, affirmative action fails to satisfy either one of these requirements. Even without giving preferential treatment to certain races, the makeup of the university accurately simulated real life. Furthermore, it is plain that quality was indeed being lost, as the increase in number of Asians following race blind admissions indicates.
The purpose of a college goes beyond merely the education of its students. Colleges serve as a way of enhancing the skills of talented individuals, so that they may contribute to society, and better the nation as a whole. To deny a deserving student simply because preference is being given to another race defeats this purpose, and is inherently unfair. Not only does it undermine the efforts of an individual, placing more weight on the color of one's skin, but it denies society a hard working, talented worker, that did not receive the education he deserved. While diversity is important for any university, I have provided data demonstrating that it can be achieved without affirmative action, and, as such, the policy does little more than diminish the quality of a student body.
To address the point of "undeserving minorities" being allowed into universities, I would like to point out that "deserving" is something which is determined by the college based on their admissions criteria. It is obvious that when race is not considered something that can make an applicant more "deserving" of admission, less applicants of that race will be accepted! That is simply in the nature of not considering race; it will make less applicants of an underrepresented race be accepted to the university. However, this does not make them "undeserving", because the opposition is assuming that "deserving" means higher grades and test scores. But, we know that colleges must go past GPA and test scores to determine whether a student is deserving of admission to the university. There are many things that go into determining whether a student is "deserving" or not. Remember, things such as whether a student"s parents went to the university can make them more "deserving." Also, things such as where a student is located in the United States can make them more "deserving." This is something that is put in place to promote diversity in the college setting, so if this arbitrary factor is allowed to be considered, why should race be excluded? Policies to promote diversity based upon location have been in place since colleges have been admitting students, yet when race becomes a consideration, a problem is apparently present. Also, no student gets in "simply because of their skin color." If this were the case, minorities would simply have to check a box indicating their race and they would get into the university. However, this is not the case. Race does count as a "plus" for the student to be accepted into the university, but this is in conjunction with the rest of their qualifications. While some may consider this "plus" unfair, remember that things such as athletic abilities, a students" location, where a student"s parents went to college, whether a student"s went to college, can all be considered a "plus" to somebody"s application. So, while one may argue that it is not fair to consider race because it cannot be controlled, there are plenty of factors that are considered which cannot be controlled.
The point that the diversity in college should be representative of the "diversity" present in the real world is simply impractical. If the nation were 99% white and 1% black and a college wanted to promote diversity, no one would consider the college "diverse" if its student body were also racially similar. A goal of colleges is to promote diversity and this diversity is relative to the university, NOT to the real world. Colleges believe that diversity is a desirable trait and if this trait will be beneficial to the education of the student body at the college, why should it not be allowed to be considered? Again, a college student-body will NEVER be perfectly representative of what a student will experience in the real world. If a student attends a private catholic college, it is not believed that they will go out into the world thinking that people are predominately Catholic. Or if a student attends an ivy league school, it is not believed that they will go out into the world believing that most people score over 2100 on their SATs.
My opponent claims that "quality" is being lost when affirmative action policies are put into place. This point is similar to that of the "undeserving" students he mentioned earlier. "Quality" is a term that is decided by the college, not by your personal definition. If your definition simply means test scores and GPA, then that is fine. However, we must be considering the definition of "quality" as determined by the college. Colleges invariably go past merely test scores and GPA to determine "quality", so why should they not be allowed to consider race as something that makes a student more valuable to the university? So many factors, some of these arbitrary, are already being made to promote diversity, so why should race be excluded? As long as these other factors are present, race should not be treated any differently, which is why universities should still be ALLOWED to consider race.
Affirmative action does not give students admission to college "simply because of their skin color." It allows for colleges to give students a plus for being a certain race, because it will promote diversity at their school and benefit their students. While this may seem to be unfair, it is important to recognize that other policies are already in place to promote diversity that may seem to be unfair. For example, students can be given a plus for being located in a state where not many applicants are from. Once agin, if arbitrary factors such as this are allowed to be considered, then why should race not be allowed? It is not any different. Remember that nobody gets in for their race, it is the combination of all of their qualities put together that make an applicant "deserving." Do not be fooled into believing that ONLY GPA and test scores make a student qualified. While these are definitely factors that make a student qualified, they have NEVER been the only factors. If affirmative action should not be allowed because you consider it "unfair", then myriad admissions policies would have to be disallowed, as well. But for the time being, it should be allowed, because it would be inconsistent and blatantly unfair to not allow race when so many other things are considered.
aayushs96 forfeited this round.
aayushs96 forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Ragnar 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: FF. Very complex issue.
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