Affirmative Action and Minority Enrollments in Medical and Law Schools

By Wu, Frank H. | The Journal of Negro Education, Winter 1998 | Go to article overview

Affirmative Action and Minority Enrollments in Medical and Law Schools


Wu, Frank H., The Journal of Negro Education


Affirmative Action and Minority Enrollments in Medical and Law Schools, by Susan Welch and John Gruhl. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1998. 221 pp. $39.50, paper.

Despite the controversy generated by affirmative action in higher education, the actual effects of the programs have not been thoroughly analyzed. Instead, the arguments over race-based remedies have been symbolic. With respect to professional training, such as that provided by medical and law schools, the role of affirmative action has been based on anecdotes and assumptions about a few outstanding individuals. These include Bernard Chavis, the African American doctor who graduated from University of California-Davis medical school through the special admissions program Allan Bakke challenged. Initially held up as a success story, Chavis, with later malpractice allegations raised against him, was turned into a cautionary example. Among other examples are Benjamin Carson, the African American who chairs the pediatric neurosurgery department at prestigious Johns Hopkins University, and who separated twins conjoined at the head; Johnny Cochran, who led the "dream team" defense counsel in the 0. J. Simpson murder trial; and Vernon Jordan, one of the most powerful lawyers in the nation's capital, regardless of race.

Affirmative Action and Minority Enrollments in Medical and Law Schools presents a longawaited and much-needed empirical basis for the public discourse. Welch and Gruhl's book is a supplement to the massive Bowen and Bok (1998) study, The Shape of the River. It differs from that work in its emphasis on institutional decision making in response to legal doctrines. Although this type of evidence is vital to the affirmative action debate, it is not, as the authors themselves implicitly conclude, sufficient to resolve the matter. As Christopher Edley, Jr. (1996), the Harvard professor who led the Clinton Administration's "mend-it-don't-end-it" review of affirmative action policies, has argued, facts matter but "values matter most" (p. 73). At stake are competing visions of what the institutions of this nation, elite as well as public, should look like and how best to realize those ideals. Both the ends and the means are contested.

Using a questionnaire sent in March 1989 to the 118 medical schools and 154 law schools that were operating when the Supreme Court decided Bakke v. Regents of the University of California (1978), Welch and Gruhl describe how these institutions practiced affirmative action, whether they changed in response to legal restrictions, and, most importantly, whether these efforts to remedy racial/ ethnic discrimination worked. Their study deserves consideration by all policymakers and administrators who care about racial/ethnic diversity in higher education.

As Welch and Gruhl explain, the Supreme Court was highly divided in Bakke, with four justices voting in favor of affirmative action in theory and four justices voting against affirmative action as it was being practiced. Justice Louis Powell, the Richmond, Virginia, corporate lawyer who had led the American Bar Association, reached a famous compromise. He reasoned that affirmative action could satisfy constitutional standards if it resembled the Harvard College plan, which took race into account as a factor, but it violated constitutional norms if it relied on strict quotas. The Powell opinion has been heavily criticized from all quarters as being impossible to follow. Nonetheless, until the Supreme Court ruled in its 1995 case of Adarand v. Pena (1995) that affirmative action is the legal equivalent of invidious discrimination, the Powell approach effectively governed affirmative action.

Welch and Gruhl present many basic findings about the role of legal doctrine in shaping institutional behavior related to affirmative action. Not surprisingly, they note, virtually all those responding to their survey had heard of the Bakke decision. Surprisingly, however, 77% of medical school officials and 63% of law school officials reported that it changed their policies "not at all" (p. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Affirmative Action and Minority Enrollments in Medical and Law Schools
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.