Affirmative Action Programs Get Generally Favorable Review

By 1995, New York Times News Service | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), June 1, 1995 | Go to article overview

Affirmative Action Programs Get Generally Favorable Review


1995, New York Times News Service, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Most hiring and other preferences based on race or gender are justified in employment and education, say officials who were ordered to review affirmative action programs by President Bill Clinton.

But they found problems with purchasing programs that reserve federal contracts for companies owned by blacks or women.

A report prepared for the president catalogs numerous forms of affirmative action and analyzes the reasons for "white male resentment" of those practices.

The review, prompted by Republican criticism of such programs, lays out standards for acceptable affirmative action:

Race or sex can be considered as "one among several factors."

If numbers are used, they should be "genuine goals rather than straitjackets or quotas."

"Consideration of race or sex is permissible" if it is narrowly tailored to overcome the effects of discrimination, to cure "a manifest imbalance" in the workplace or to promote diversity on a college campus.

The report upholds most types of affirmative action, saying they increase productivity by reducing discrimination and finding the best candidates for particular jobs. But the report expresses concern about programs that establish rigid quotas.

As an example, the report cites Commerce Department rules for certain local public works programs financed by the federal government. The rules say no grant may be made for any project unless "at least 10 percent of the amount of the grant will be expended for contracts with or supplies from minority business enterprises."

A similar preference is found in the Diplomatic Security Act of 1986. …

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