Student Diversity and Higher Learning

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Student Diversity and Higher Learning

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Title: Student Diversity and Higher Learning
Author: Rudenstine, Neil
Citation: Rudenstine, Neil L. 2001. Student Diversity and Higher Learning.
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Abstract: This chapter traces the evolution of the concept of diversity in higher education, noting the real but slow progress in achieving greater inclusion. It highlights Harvard University's experiences, demonstrating why the goal of diversity remains so important to the actual quality and breadth of education for all students and why Harvard's existing policies offer an effective pathway to the future. It begins by discussing the early origins of diversity, then examines civil rights legislation and the Supreme Court's 1978 decision in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, which addressed both the legality of racial quotas in admissions and the use of race or ethnicity as factors in admissions decisions. The next section discusses policy alternatives concerning student diversity and admissions in the post-Bakke era, commenting on several arguments advanced by critics of affirmative action in college admissions (e.g., affirmative action programs highlight the wrong target, run the risk of stigmatizing and thus injuring the very people they are supposed to help, and are unfair because they deny admission to students with high test scores in favor of students with less impressive objective records). The importance of strengthening and sustaining higher education's commitment to diversity is stressed.
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