Amendment 46 was voted down in Larimer County Tuesday after facing widespread resistance from advocacy groups on campus that say the measure leaves minority groups defenseless and creates a step backward in the battle toward equality.
It remained to close to call statewide.
The controversial measure would prohibit preferential treatment of any individual or group based on gender or ethnicity in public employment, education or contracting.
Erika Green, a CSU junior technical journalism major and vice president for Black Definition, which promotes awareness of racism for the CSU community, said the wording of 46 misled the public.
The initiative, titled the “Civil Rights amendment,” led voters to believe that it is a good thing, Green said, when in actuality, the amendment would revoke special advantages such as Affirmative Action.
One of the primary arguments for groups such as Black Definition is that the initiative would dismantle equal employment opportunity in Colorado, crushing over 40 years of state and national effort to level the economic playing field.
“A lot of the discriminating that goes on today is institutionalized, so it’s hard to get rid of. But it’s still there,” she said. “If people realized that discrimination is still evident in our society, then I think they would understand Affirmative Action.”
Conversely, backers of the initiative said they found Affirmative Action to be an unnecessary advantage for minority populations, citing preferential treatment for underrepresented populations in education and employment to be unethical practices.
Freshman mechanical engineering major Jon Scott, said Affirmative Action is and will always be a form of racism.
“It isn’t ethical at all. Affirmative Action was started to eliminate discrimination based on sex or color inequalities that were prominent 50 years ago. But now that we live and pride ourselves in the multicultural society we see today, I believe preferential treatment is only hampering our progress toward complete equality,” Scott said.
Staff writer Tyler Okland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.