Wesleyan Faculty Endorse Affirmative Action

by Mytheos Holt

Well, this is awkward. In the wake of an affirmative-action bake sale hosted by the campus conservative club, the Wesleyan University admissions office swore up and down that the school doesn’t have an affirmative-action policy — but now, a large number of the Wesleyan faculty have written in to Wesleyan’s campus paper, the Wesleyan Argus, to defend the practice of affirmative action. The first few paragraphs are simply an extended history lesson on how historically justified the practice was when it was first instituted (in other words, a non sequitur), but they’re preferable to the last few paragraphs, which say absolutely nothing:

It is our understanding that Wesleyan University is committed to equal opportunity and affirmative action in keeping with federal legislation and local laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, and veteran status. Wesleyan, therefore, makes concerted efforts to recruit, employ, and promote qualified members of minority groups, women, handicapped individuals and disabled veterans, and Vietnam-era veterans who qualify for the positions for which they are being considered, as is the case for all other candidates who do not fall under the groups covered by the laws.

Additionally, and importantly, Wesleyan University has a stated commitment to prevent discrimination on the basis of marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression as part of a broader commitment to equal opportunity and to the promotion of a diverse campus and workforce. The University, therefore, has both an institutional responsibility to seek out the most talented people and a social obligation to further the goal of achieving equality of opportunity.

These institutional commitments have been misconstrued as a system of “racial preferences” (or worse, a “racial quota” system). We support open and honest discussion and debate about such matters, but we oppose as mere race baiting any and all efforts to scapegoat people of color among the students, faculty, staff, and administration on this campus and to undermine the University’s commitment to equal opportunity and diversity.

This isn’t a defense of affirmative action — it’s a series of PR platitudes holding hands.

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