Affirmative Action and the University: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Higher Education Employment

Affirmative Action and the University: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Higher Education Employment

Affirmative Action and the University: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Higher Education Employment

Affirmative Action and the University: Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Higher Education Employment

Synopsis

Affirmative Action and the University is the only full-length study to examine the impact of affirmative action on all higher education hiring practices. Drawing on data provided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, the authors summarize, track, and evaluate changes in the gender and ethnic makeup of academic and nonacademic employees at private and public colleges and universities from the late 1970s through the mid-1990s. Separate chapters assess changes in employment opportunities for white women, blacks, Asians, Hispanics, and Native Americans.

The authors look at the extent to which a two-tier employment system exists. In such a system minorities and women are more likely to make their greatest gains in non-elite positions rather than in faculty and administrative positions. The authors also examine differences in hiring practices between public and private colleges and universities.

Excerpt

Discrimination against minorities and women has existed not only in the private sector but in the public sector as well. Focusing on the public sector raises important questions about the prospects for removing public employment barriers and also about the role of minorities and women as citizens and the degree to which government represents them as well as the white majority. The institutionalization of a representative bureaucracy is considered by some to be a means to ensure that the various groups making up the nation are represented in government. Bureaucratic representativeness carries both symbolic and policy implications for the majority and for minority groups. Affirmative action in government is both a measure of government responsiveness to its own laws and policies and its willingness to ensure representative bureaucracy for all.

DISCRIMINATION IN GOVERNMENT EMPLOYMENT

Race, ethnicity, and gender have shaped to a significant extent opportunities for government employment. Various minority groups and women have faced exclusion or have been relegated to lower positions due to physical characteristics or ethnic backgrounds. Rather than being in the forefront of promoting equality, government has often mirrored the discriminatory practices found in the private sector and society. For those who wish to see equality of opportunity in government employment, affirmative action efforts have become necessary in order to ensure that minorities and women have greater access to government positions.

Blacks

Blacks have faced exclusionary policies toward service in government, with public officials erecting numerous barriers to deny them access or limit their presence throughout most of American history. Initially, blacks were denied the opportunity to serve in the military during the American Revolution. Later, Congress in 1792 made service in the militia open only to white men.

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