Arguments Assignment

Hypothetical
Elite University’s admissions committee holistically evaluates each applicant, taking into consideration their Academic Index Score (AI), a combination of their high school GPA and standardized test scores. In addition to each applicant’s AI, the admissions committee, as part of the University’s Affirmative Action process, must consider a set of factors which make up each applicant’s Personal Achievement Index (PAI). Each student’s entire profile must be reviewed, and evaluated as a whole. The PAI takes into account the following factors:
1. leadership qualities;
2. awards and honors;
3. work experience;
4. extra-curricular activities;
5. community service; and
6. special circumstances, which can include race, gender, socioeconomic status, family status/ responsibilities, and any other special circumstance provided by the student which the committee believes will add to the diversity of the educational environment.
Plaintiff Claire Danes, a white woman, applied for admission to Elite University. Her application was rejected. She is now suing Elite University alleging that its use of Affirmative Action to admit minorities who are under-represented (fewer in number) in order to make up for imbalances in the student population and create more diversity is unconstitutional.
Some Background on Affirmative Action:
Historically, people who are in the minority (non-white) have had more difficulty getting into universities in the U.S. Some universities even had policies that said no students of color, or no Jewish students could be admitted. Affirmative Action was started for the purpose of helping minorities get into college, especially the more elite ones (called “Ivy League” colleges or universities). In more recent years, the number of Asian Americans getting into college has increased a great deal, and some people feel that certain universities, Harvard included, admit fewer Asian students, and more African American, Hispanic, and other groups of students. Harvard says they can use race as a factor to keep their student body diverse, and if they admit more of certain minority groups, that is legal. There have been lawsuits brought by some white students who say that if a minority gets an advantage, then they (the white students) are being discriminated against (treated less favorably, or denied a benefit or opportunity based on race). Public universities are prohibited under the 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause from treating people less favorably based on race. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits private universities that receive federal funding from discrimination based on race, color and ethnic origin.

The issue you will argue on behalf of Elite University is whether Elite University should use Affirmative Action to admit minorities who are under-represented (fewer in number) in order to make up for imbalances in the student population and create more diversity.

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Instructions for Sources for Pro/Con Arguments

This is an “open” assignment, which means you can use any sources. You are REQUIRED to discuss the three major cases we learned about, Bakke, Grutter, and Fisher. You may also use other sources you find, including secondary sources, like www.procon.org, and popular sources, like newspaper articles or websites, and scholarly sources, like cases (including dissenting opinions) or law review articles.

1) Regents of the University of California v. Bakke
2) https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/539/306/#tab-opinion-1961291
3) https://www.lexisnexis.com/community/casebrief/p/casebrief-fisher-v-univ-of-tex

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