Letter to the Editor: Finding the middle ground on affirmative action

Dear Editor,

We are currently enrolled in the Introduction to Liberal Education course here at Grand Valley. We have been working on a group project in which we have decided to bring the concept of affirmative action into the spotlight to be researched, questioned, and slightly reformed. In an effort to take action in our findings, we thought getting our ideas out in the Lanthorn would be a great way to get people thinking, and hopefully make a change.

After having done some research on affirmative action in America and here at Grand Valley State University, we are proposing that something should be done to reform how affirmative action works here. We don’t feel that affirmative action should be ruled out entirely but we do feel that it needs to change a little bit.

We are aware of the Michigan law that was recently passed called Proposal Two that basically outlaws the concept of affirmative action and does not permit any type of preferential treatment. While this law does certainly level the playing field, it also puts a large strain in the possibility of college for a lot of students. We still feel that there is need to give some students an advantage when applying for college.

Proposal Two has made the policy a little too strict, and the original form of affirmative action is unfair, so we have an idea that meets in the middle. Instead of looking at ones race or gender the schools should perhaps look more at the high school and the economic background each individual student comes from. By looking more at these factors than at race and gender the school may end up helping those that are actually more in need. There are plenty of females, and people who belong to minorities that are very intelligent, come from great high schools, and have a very stable financial standing and may overall not need an advantage when applying for college, but are given one simply based on their race and/or gender. There are also a large number of other students that may not necessarily belong to a minority, or may not be female, that don’t receive the help they actually need based on the same standards.

This new form of affirmative action could benefit all universities, especially here Grand Valley. This university greatly values a diverse campus, and students who bring different perspectives from all different walks of life, and this new policy is a great way to adjust that while still keeping things fair. If the school were to consider reforming the way affirmative action is used, we may be able to help those students who really are in need and truly deserve a chance to go to college. Again we are not asking that affirmative action be taken out as a whole but rather that it just be changed a little bit to accommodate to who may actually benefit from the program.

Thank you for your time,

Lib 100 students