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Affirmative action debate returns to BU

Nov. 10, 1999

By KARA WILEY

Reporter

Affirmative action is a continued debate at college campuses all across the country. The Baylor Federalist Society, in conjunction with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the Institute for justice, brought the much-disputed topic back into the public discourse Tuesday night.

'I thought it would stimulate thought among the students people would be interested because it is such a popular topic,' said Hillary Sheriff, a Plano senior and president of the Baylor University Federalist Society.

The debate featured Clint Bolick, Director of Litigation of the Institute for Justice in Washington, D.C., and Brian Serr, professor at the Baylor School of Law.

Bolick, author of The Affirmative Action Fraud, and leader of the nationwide litigation effort to defend school choice programs said he is definitely against government discrimination on the basis of race.

'As soon as you are labeled according to your race you are denied your individuality,' he said.

Bolick said he believes that affirmative action is a fraud.

'It doesn't solve the problems that cause racial disparity. The problem is that it makes us think we are solving the problems,' Bolick said.

Affirmative action also adds points to test scores, Bolick said.

'The more affirmative action a school offers the higher the dropout rate of minorities,' he said. 'We aren't benefiting the student because they are being admitted into a school that they will not graduate from.'

Serr, who teaches criminal law, criminal procedure and a Supreme Court seminar, spoke in defense of affirmative action, justifying his belief that college admissions should allow affirmative action.

Serr said he believes that if affirmative action is abolished everyone loses out on the diversity in the student body that could be obtained.

'Diversity is important in an educational environment. People don't learn very much when they are surrounded by people like themselves,' he said.

Serr said higher education allows students to interact with others who have different values, beliefs and perspectives.

Serr asked that the audience come into the debate ready to listen to other opinions.

'We are too young to become narrow minded,' he said.