Students and Professor Discuss Affirmative Action

By: Litsa Pappas Email
By: Litsa Pappas Email

BRIDGEWATER, Va -- Should the color of your skin affect your college application? That is the big question that the Supreme Court needs to answer.

Steven Longenecker, a history professor at Bridgewater College, said affirmative action was set up to give minorities more opportunities in education, but by doing that, it may have had some negative effects.

"Reverse discrimination is real. I mean, that does impact people and reverse discrimination merely spreads the pain. We all feel the pain," said Longenecker.

Some students at Bridgewater College said the law should change and focus less on race and more on economic backgrounds.

"It might just be a good thing to do away with affirmative action and just focus more on the financial background. I guess, and whether it's a first generation college student or not," said Rachel Hunter, a Bridgewater College student.

Another student said more research needs to be conducted about an applicant's economic background.

"You need to look at household income and see how much the parents are making. You know joblessness, job opportunities or what-not like that, so you need to go ahead and do the research and see if those people actually have the means to actually attend higher education," said Jairus Akanni, another student.

Longenecker said there are benefits to affirmative action, like promoting diversity on campus. He said it will be tough for the court to decide if race still matters.

"Race can still be used as one of many factors to construct a student body and to provide opportunity to minority students, so if the court changes, that's clearly a new chapter in civil rights law," said Longenecker.

Longenecker said he sees both sides to the issue and that it is nice to have more diverse students on campus because that benefits the whole school.

He said if the court decides race should not matter, that is a step forward for civil rights.

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