Skip to main content

Affirmative Action at a Crossroads: Fisher and Forward: ASHE Higher Education Report, Volume 41, Number 4

Affirmative Action at a Crossroads: Fisher and Forward: ASHE Higher Education Report, Volume 41, Number 4

Edna Chun, Alvin Evans

ISBN: 978-1-119-12494-8

May 2015, Jossey-Bass

144 pages



The urgency of developing workable race-neutral admissions strategies that maximize the benefits of student diversity has increased. This practical guide offers:
  • concrete recommendations and strategies for the creation of a campus ecosystem that maximizes the structural, curricular, and interactional benefits of diversity,
  • extensive empirical findings and a rich research literature,
  • opportunities for campuses to craft programs, processes, and intervention that maximize student learning outcomes related to diversity, and
  • alternative strategies for addressing disadvantage, including the use of socioeconomic status and state-based percent plans.

This book provides a comprehensive overview of key issues and strategic approaches that will assist institutions of higher education in fostering demographic diversity and building inclusive and welcoming campus environments.

This is the fourth issue of the 41st volume of the Jossey-Bass series ASHE Higher Education Report. Each monograph is the definitive analysis of a tough higher education issue, based on thorough research of pertinent literature and institutional experiences. Topics are identified by a national survey. Noted practitioners and scholars are then commissioned to write the reports, with experts providing critical reviews of each manuscript before publication.

Related Resources


Request an Evaluation Copy for this title

Executive Summary vi

Foreword x

Acknowledgments xiii

The Evolution of Affirmative Action: A Critical Review 1

Organization of the Monograph 3

Affirmative Action Redux 4

Contemporary Affirmative Action as Public Policy 8

Tensions in the Interpretation of Affirmative Action 12

The Backlash Against Affirmative Action 14

Contrasting Affirmative Action in Employment and Admissions 17

Diversity as a “Compelling State Interest” 21

Redefinition of the Fourteenth Amendment in Bakke 22

The Emergence of the Diversity Rationale 26

The Grutter and Gratz Decisions 27

The Fisher Case: A New Bright Line 30

Solidifying the Court’s Equal Protection Argument: The Schuette Decision 36

The Educational Benefits of Diversity: Who Gains? 39

Contextual Conditions That Overcome Magical Thinking 43

Campus Racial Climate 51

The Changing Paradigm: Access and Success of Minoritized Students 57

Resegregation 61

Institutional Selectivity and Resources 63

The Risks of First-Generation-in-College Status 64

Intergenerational Wealth 65

Social and Cultural Capital 65

Financial Aid and Tuition Increases 67

The Impact of State Bans on Affirmative Action 69

The Evolution of Percent Plans 73

Socioeconomic Status as a Proxy for Disadvantage 78

Mismatch Theory: Empirical Findings 80

Undermatch 84

The Complexities of Class-Based Admissions Policies 85

Fisher and Beyond: A Sea Change 89

Workable Race-Neutral Practices 93

A Higher Burden of Proof: Recommendations for Practice 97

References 102

Name Index 117

Subject Index 122

About the Authors 125