If most universities want their student bodies to be as diverse as possible, then why is the use of race-based affirmative action declining? The change, says Sheryll Cashin, professor of law at Georgetown University, is partly due to political pressure and partly because of the many legal challenges that have arisen, some going as far as the Supreme Court. This shift in thinking puts us in the position, Cashin says, to reimagine how the policy is used, hopefully to better results.
In this edition of the Harvard EdCast, Cashin, author of Place, Not Race, explains how the benefits of race-based admissions decisions are actually outweighed by the social costs, and argues for a return to what she considers the original intent of affirmative action policies: helping people -- no matter their race -- who have been systemically locked out of opportunity.
The Harvard EdCast is a weekly series of podcasts, available on the Harvard University iTunes U page, that features a 15-20 minute conversation with thought leaders in the field of education from across the country and around the world. Hosted by Matt Weber, the Harvard EdCast is a space for educational discourse and openness, focusing on the myriad issues and current events related to the field.