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Unformatted text preview: Taking Race into Account: Charting Student Attitudes Towards Affirmative Action Julie J. Park Received: 3 June 2008 / Published online: 5 May 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009 Abstract This paper examines student attitudes towards affirmative action over 4 years of college. Asian American and Latino/a students were more likely than White students to disagree strongly or somewhat with abolishing affirmative action after 4 years of college. A students attitude towards the policy as a first-year student, peer group influence, and political orientation were significant predictors of student attitudes of affirmative action during the fourth year of college. The findings suggest that while college plays some role in shaping affirmative action attitudes, its influence is somewhat limited in comparison to the background traits and attitudes that students bring to college. Keywords Affirmative action Race Political attitudes Diversity Students Politics Introduction During the deliberation of the Supreme Court rulings in the University of Michigan affirmative action cases, students around the country demonstrated their reactions to the controversy in varying ways. Student coalitions such as Michigans Students in Support of Affirmative Action and the national group By Any Means Necessary led the charge to show student support for race-conscious admissions policies (Young 2003 ). Holding up the other end of the spectrum, conservative student organizations rallied against affirmative action policies. Campus groups even held bake sales charging different prices to students of different races to symbolize how certain groups, notably White males, allegedly bear a higher cost of affirmative action policies (CNN.com 2003 ). And somewhere in the middle were students who did not protest through visible means, but nonetheless held opinions on the issue. Even after the Supreme Court defended the right of universities to consider race in the admissions process, affirmative action in college admissions remains a highly J. J. Park ( & ) Miami University, 304 McGuffey Hall, Oxford, OH 45056, USA e-mail: PARKJJ@muohio.edu 123 Res High Educ (2009) 50:670690 DOI 10.1007/s11162-009-9138-7 controversial political issue (Cantor 2004 ; Kang and Banaji 2006 ). Sandra Day OCon- nors statement that race-conscious admissions policies would likely only be viable for the following 25 years put a possible deadline on the use of affirmative action; suggesting that the long-term sustainability of affirmative action is questionable. Since the Supreme Court decision, citizens voted to ban affirmative action in Michigan and Nebraska, sig- naling that the debate over the policy will surely continue. A number of researchers have studied affirmative action attitudes within the college student population (Aberson 2007 ; Elizondo and Crosby 2004 ; Inkelas 2003 ; Sax and Arredondo 1999 ; Smith 1998 )....
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This note was uploaded on 08/07/2011 for the course SOC 164 taught by Professor Aguirre during the Spring '10 term at UC Riverside.
- Spring '10
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