Doing Affirmative Action

Michigan Law Review First Impressions, Vol. 111, p. 27, 2013

University of Arkansas Research Paper No. 14-19

11 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2013 Last revised: 11 Aug 2014

Stephen Clowney

University of Arkansas - School of Law

Date Written: April 2, 2013

Abstract

Based on the two years I worked in the Admissions Office at Princeton University, I argue that many opponents of racial preferences misunderstand how selective universities evaluate applicants and, as a result, their policy arguments are weaker than generally believed. More specifically, I rebut three major critiques put forth by skeptics of affirmative action. First, I claim that racial preferences are less robust than most critics imagine. Second, I argue that affirmative action imposes fewer costs on both whites and blacks than critics indicate. Finally, I show that racial preferences have less weighty moral consequences than critics believe. In fact, an attack on affirmative action — divorced from a larger project of increasing fairness in college admissions — amounts to an attack on black social mobility.

Keywords: Affirmative Action, Equal Protection, Fairness, Athletics, Admissions Preferences, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

Suggested Citation

Clowney, Stephen, Doing Affirmative Action (April 2, 2013). Michigan Law Review First Impressions, Vol. 111, p. 27, 2013; University of Arkansas Research Paper No. 14-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2243778

Stephen Clowney (Contact Author)

University of Arkansas - School of Law ( email )

260 Waterman Hall
Fayetteville, AR 72701
United States

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