New Data Shows That Washington State's Affirmative Action Helps More Whites Than Blacks

By Colon, Aly | Black Issues in Higher Education, May 30, 1996 | Go to article overview

New Data Shows That Washington State's Affirmative Action Helps More Whites Than Blacks


Colon, Aly, Black Issues in Higher Education


New Data Shows That Washington State's Affirmative Action Helps More. Whites Than Blacks

SEATTLE, W.A. -- Few people were surprised by a study that showed minorities benefitted from a program designed to attract them to Washington State's colleges and universities.

But the state's Commission on African-American Affairs was surprised by who benefitted the most.

When it came to total numbers, white students were on top.

In 1994, half of the students who entered the state's colleges and universities through an alternative admissions standard were white, according to a recent study initiated by the commission.

"We were surprised that whites did so well," said James Kelly, the commission's executive director. "We were looking at programs designed for minorities, and we see whites benefiting."

The alternative admissions program, although not race-based, allows race, ethnicity, family circumstances and other factors to be taken into consideration for a small percentage of students admitted. With such an approach, it was expected that entrance opportunities for minorities would increase.

It did.

But the study also found that on a statewide basis, four whites were enrolled for every Black student.

And when that same study looked at 15 employment categories at Washington's six campuses, it showed that higher rates of hiring occurred among whites than Blacks in nine of those categories.

The study's numbers varied from one institution to another.

At Western Washington University in Bellingham, for example, 18 whites were admitted under the alternative admissions program for every African American. At Washington State University in Pullman, 11 whites got in for each Black student. …

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