Feb 222004
 
Authors: Christopher Ortiz

Last summer I wrote a column about affirmative action. In that

column, I told our state legislature that if they were going to

remove race from consideration in college admissions, it needed to

come up with a plan to continue to add diversity to our state

colleges.

Let’s get the facts out of the way. Yes my last name is Ortiz, a

Spanish-Mexican last name. I was born in New Mexico. My family

comes from Spain and from Native American tribes but not have I

once applied for a minority-based scholarship or grant nor did I

check the “Hispanic” box when I applied to colleges – including

CSU.

The Colorado General Assembly saw a new bill asking to remove

racial preferences in higher education admissions. One of the

supporters of the bill is Sen. Ed Jones, an African American. To

lift a quote from Collegian reporter Christiana Nelson’s story,

“Offending action,” Jones said, “Affirmative action is all about

race. I believe it is time to move forward and end this source of

racial tension.”

The reason I mentioned above that I have never gone for minority

scholarships is because I don’t personally agree with affirmative

action. It is not enough. It is outdated. It is unfair in any way

you slice the pie.

Everyone loves bake sales right? Brad Jones of the University of

Boulder’s College Republicans held a bake sale on campus. He

initially wanted to charge people different prices for items based

on the buyer’s race. A Caucasian would pay, let’s say, $1 for a

brownie while an African American would only pay 75 cents for the

same brownie. Jones did this to pun how he feels affirmative action

gives minorities the upper hand, unfairly, in college admissions

and scholarships. Jones was barred from actually changing prices by

the administration; citing the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, state

statue and university rules. He was allowed to post “suggested

donations,” but his point got across.

Agree with affirmative action or not, this bake sale straight up

shows how affirmative action works in some areas, including

admissions.

For a lot of students, without scholarships they wouldn’t be

attending college. Jason Mattera, the president of College

Republicans at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, offered a

whites-only scholarship to express their opposition against

race-based scholarships and affirmative action, according to a CNN

report. This scholarship received a lot of criticism – partly

because Mattera is a recipient of a Hispanic College Fund

scholarship (can we say hypocrite) – but mainly because it was

viewed as racist. But why? No one bats an eye when scholarships are

offered only for African Americans or Native Americans. Why? But in

our country, it is allowed because these segments of the population

have been suppressed in the past and also because minorities are

unrepresented in higher education and this is a way to increase

numbers. I blame White Guilt for the former but you can come up

with your own theory.

In a state that has more than a 20 percent minority population,

only 11.2 percent of CSU’s student body is minority. I don’t

believe our student body has to necessarily reflect the

demographics of state (not all our peers come from the state and

not all Colorado high school students go instate) but it should be

something CSU strives for. The goal should be to increase the

applicant pool of students applying to CSU. If not affirmative

action, then what? I support the proposed bill to remove race in

consideration but only if the legislature and CSU work out a

program to reach our diversity goals. They can’t remove affirmative

action without replacing it with a program that is fair and

promotes diversity.

Either that be by instating more college prep classes in high

schools or having CSU recruit minorities stronger but the same

people removing affirmative action are responsible for implicating

a program to further diversify our campus.

If affirmative action needs to be replaced, I support that – it

is outdated and is unfair but we can’t just cut affirmative action

and hope for the best. We need to consider alternative options to

diversity.

Chris is a senior majoring in history and journalism. He is the

opinion editor for The Collegian and although he is Spanish, he

doesn’t speak the language or like chili.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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