Local News

UNC Studying Affirmative Action, Education

Posted November 25, 1997 12:00 a.m. EST

— Recently, affirmative action and education programs have been successfully challenged in California, Texas and Maryland, where race-based admissions were struck down. The President of the University of North Carolina system wants to look at the way minority students receive special treatment in our state.

Unfortunately, UNC System President, Molly Broad, was unavailable for comment for this story due to an out-of-town engagement, but a spokesperson says Broad's decision to review affirmative action is not a prelude to abandoning or backing away from programs already in place. Rather, it is an effort to make sure the University system is on firm legal ground.

For many students, however, the mere mention of the study has raised concerns.

For 25 years the UNC system has enjoyed a growth in diversity among its students -- a diversity that affirmative action efforts helped create.

Now, Broad has ordered a review of the policies and says those based solely on race should be reformed or abolished. Some students agree.

Race-based scholarships are the centerpiece of the system's affirmative action programs. They are not just for black students; they are also for white students who attend historically black universities.

Students in groups such as the Black student movement and Alliance for Creating Campus Equity and Seeking Social Justice (ACCESS) say all affirmative action policies should be maintained.

Broad said she wants to keep the scholarships in place, as well as admissions policies that aim to diversify the campuses. She adds that she wants changes to any program not specifically set out in the desegregation agreement, or approved by the General Assembly.

Photographer:Joe Frieda