Acceptance without Affirmative Action

Alex Diamond, Senior Writer

Go carefully down the halls and be sure to gently step over the senior crying in the middle of it. It’s college application season—thus the stress-sobbing teens—but this year, a top university is also under a great deal of pressure.
This past October, the prestigious Harvard University came under fire for racial discrimination from a group called Students for Fair Admissions. The conservative-led group claimed that Harvard was discriminating against Asian Americans via diversity quotas that limit the number of high-achieving Asian Americans in favor of less-qualified blacks and Latinos. Its evidence lies in statistics showing that Asian Americans outperform other demographics in terms of academics, but are not accepted in rates proportional to those numbers because of the other categories Harvard uses to evaluate candidates—categories such as “likeability.”
The group brought Harvard to federal district court, and in the process, threatened to undo years of Affirmative Action progress, though some people believe it’s not as terrifying as it sounds.
Those people include Washington state.
It seems counterintuitive; how can such a liberal state not be in favor of one of the most liberal policies of recent times? However, Washington is one of eight states to have an official ban on Affirmative Action, and it’s not such a crazy idea.
Affirmative Action—any policy favoring those frequently facing discrimination such as women or racial minorities—has been banned in Washington since 1998 in favor of anti-discrimination laws. In terms of effects on the state, the most applicable in the current season is how this affects college applications. All eight of Washington’s public universities—including UW, WSU, Western and Central—say race has no effect on the selection of applicants. Students who feel that race has a vital part in shaping them as a student are welcome to include it in their essay responses, but race alone is not a factor.
Supporters of Affirmative Action claim applications like these (those without Affirmative Action) will cause the percentages of minorities at universities to plummet, but the data tells a much less cynical story.
According to the National Center for Education, the general population of Washington state is 4.9percent black and 9.8percent Hispanic. If the theory of Affirmative Action is true, then the percentages of those two races should be drastically lower at Washington’s public universities. However, the same center reports that of the total postsecondary student population in Washington, 4.68percent are black and 9.27percent are Hispanic—a staggeringly accurate representation of the general population’s demographics.
This level of racial diversity is thriving in Washington state’s Affirmative Action-less secondary education thanks to our state’s strong anti-discrimination laws and equal access groups. Should any group of students feel they are being treated unfairly—like the Students for Fair Admissions—the Washington Human Rights Commission is there to eliminate discrimination and enforce equal opportunity in fields such as housing, employment, and, most important for Liberty students, college admissions.
So rest assured, Patriots: even without Affirmative Action, your college applications are still being fairly weighted in Washington state, and the Patriot Press wishes everyone luck this application season.