Haas Institute Assistant Director Stephen Menendian explains the importance of considering race in university admissions.
Stephen Menendian: I'm Stephen Menendian, the assistant director and director of research at the Haas Institute. What's at stake is really the degree to which we can consider race in our society at all. To what extent does race matter, and if it matters, what can we do about it?
Admissions in universities and colleges are critical, because these are the training grounds for the nation's leaders, the next generation, and they're also a critical rung on the ladder of opportunity. And the Haas Institute, in its mission is focused on promoting opportunity, expanding opportunity for all, and ameliorating the harms of marginality and discrimination and oppression.
Too often, race in our society is framed at the level of individual discrimination, interpersonal discrimination. There's a bad actor, a racist actor. Our understanding of race recognizes there are structural dimensions to race in America that impede up our mobility and impede opportunities, and a critical dimension of that is segregation. The reality is that our society has yet to fully come to grips with the effects of past historical discrimination, including government policy. Admissions policies that are race conscious are necessary even today.