Scott D. Gerber

Document Type



At all but the nation’s top colleges and universities, enrollments are down and budgets are strapped. Although many offer ideas why, the heavy-headed use of racial and ethnic preferences in student admissions, financial aid, and faculty hiring is also to blame, but also nobody ever mentions that. The term “affirmative action” originated with an executive order signed by President John F. Kennedy on March 6, 1961. Fast forward five decades and, to borrow a line from Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, “We’re not in Kansas any more.” Bluntly stated, there is systemic discrimination in all three categories of affirmative action in higher education: admissions, financial assistance, and faculty hiring. The Supreme Court has assumed ever since the University of California v. Bakke decision in 1978 that colleges and universities are administering their affirmative action programs in good faith. It’s time for the Court to acknowledge that assumption is incorrect.