I have written columns and blogs through the years about the disturbing trend on U.S. campuses toward free regulation and controls. In the name of diversities and tolerance, college administrators and professors are enforcing greater and greater controls on speech –declaring certain views or terms to be forms of racism or more commonly “microaggressions.” The latter term is gaining support to expand the range of controls over speech and conduct to include things that are indirect or minor forms of perceived intolerance. The crackdown seems most prevalent in California where lists of “micro aggressions” seems to be mounting as a macroaggression on free speech. The new list of verboten terms out of University of California (Berkeley), headed by Janet Napolitano, captures the insatiable appetite for speech regulation. The school has asked faculty to stop using terms like “melting pot” or statements like “I believe the most qualified person should get the job.” They are now all microaggressions. Not only are school buying into the concept of microaggressions and speech regulation, but they are shaping a generation of students who seem to look for any possible interpretation of terms to take offensive at.
We have previously discussed how schools have rejected students with substantially higher scores for college admissions to allow the admission of African-American and hispanic students. Some academics, myself included, have raised concerns about the significant differences in academic scores — a difference that is particularly great with regard to Asian Americans. For that reason, I share the concern that this constitutes a form of discrimination based on race. While there remains a permissible range in which schools can select students to achieve a diverse and pluralistic student body, the differential of admissions scores can be alarming in some cases and suggest that students are being rejected simply because of their race.
Cara L. Gallagher, Weekend Contributor
When SCOTUS orders a case back to a lower court it’s rare that the case garners the same attention it received when it was in the Supreme Court. But Fisher v. The University of Texas at Austin, a critical case that still has the potential to uproot affirmative action programs in public universities – one that beckoned Justice Sandra Day O’Connor to the SCOTUS pews on decision day in June of 2013 – is one you follow post-SCOTUS. Perhaps Justice O’Connor traveled all that way to throw shade to those justices likely to upend her landmark 2003 affirmative action decision, Grutter v. Bollinger. Although the spirit of Grutter remained intact, the majority’s 7-1 decision to remand the case back to a lower court was done so with explicit instruction that the University prove they’d satisfied the necessary strict scrutiny test. The same attorneys who argued the case before the SCOTUS in 2013 stayed on the case arguing before a 3-judge panel in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Continue reading “Affirmative action in college admissions survives. For now.”