Toward An Understanding of Percentage Plans in Higher Education:
Are They Effective Substitutes for Affirmative Action?

Dissenting Statement of Commissioner Carl A. Anderson and
Commissioner Russell G. Redenbaugh

We strongly object to this statement and to the way it has been pushed through, on a “poll vote,” out of the public’s eye, and without providing the opportunity for open discussion and full deliberation by the Commission. 

The poll vote is an extraordinary procedure that should be used only on urgent matters that the Commission has already reviewed and discussed openly, as in the case of the South Dakota report last month, or where there is unanimous consent to proceed in such a manner. In the case of the present statement on “percentage plans,” however, the poll vote clearly is being used to keep any discussion or dissent off the public record. The issues raised in the statement are certainly too important and complex to be rushed through in this way, without full and careful consideration by this body. 

Although we were denied the opportunity for discussion, here are just a few of the questions we would have liked to pose, in an open session: 

As these questions reveal, the proposed statement is littered with inaccuracies and half-truths. The major fact the statement ignores is this: Courts across the nation are striking down racial preferences and set-asides. The majority of Americans do not support race-based preferences. This does not mean we should do away with outreach, recruitment and other efforts to increase diversity and expand opportunities for minorities; but we can do that without discriminating. That is the whole point behind the reforms in Florida, Texas, and California: to increase the pool of eligible applicants; to reach out to students that traditionally have not been recruited, particularly those from the inner city; to focus on need-based financial aid; and to expand opportunity for students in low-performing schools. 

The proposed statement reflects neither the scholarship nor deliberation to which the American taxpayers are entitled. We dissent from this premature rush to judgment in a matter of such public importance.