Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

Affirmative Action on the Ballot in Colorado

October 6th, 2008 by Ajuan Mance

The University of Colorado is roughly 91% white, and if  voters pass this November’s anti-affirmative action ballot measure, then Colorado residents can expect to see the proportion of white students on campus increase, maybe dramatically.

Many both on and off campus would prefer to see more diversity in Colorado’s public colleges and universities, not less. While the Colorado Board of Regents has remained largely silent on the measure, State Governor Bill Ritter has been one of its most vocal and highest ranking opponents.

As in Nebraska, Colorado’s ballot measure threatens to decrease an already small student of color population in its colleges and universities. Both ballot measures are part of controversial anti-affirmative action activist Ward Connerly’s attempt to dismantle the practice, state by state. Measures proposed in Oklahoma and Arizona failed to qualify for the ballot.

Denver’s CBS 4 describes Connerly’s state-by-state campaign to end the what he considers preferential treatment for people of color:

Connerly, a 69-year-old grandfather who can be mild and charming or harsh and defensive, is convinced that his mission of dismantling preferences is altering the course of history.

Affirmative action has become entrenched in American life and state by state, Connerly said in a recent interview with The Associated Press, and “we’re changing that.”

“If I thought it could be done — poof — flash of the wand, I’d be naive,” Connerly said.

Affirmative action, he said, is an antiquated system that, rather than helping minorities, reinforces the perception they are second-class citizens who need help to succeed.

Connerly’s proposed constitutional amendments prohibit state and local governments from giving preferential treatment to people on the basis of race, sex, ethnicity or national origin.

His fight against preferences started in the 1990s after a couple came to him when he was a regent at the University of California to talk about their white son’s failure to get into the system’s medical schools.

On election day, Coloradans will have their say on this hot-button issue.  I hope they choose to put their trust in college admissions officials to make the best and fairest decisions for all concerned.

Have your say on the issues in your state. Click on the image below to register to vote.

Posted by Ajuan Mance

Posted in Affirmative Action, African American Students, African Americans, Current Events, Higher Education, race, University of Colorado, Ward Connerly

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