With the oral arguments now dispensed with, a new challenge to minorities in higher education is on the horizon. The Center for Equal Opportunity and the American Civil Rights Institute, vehement opponents of race-conscious affirmative action and supporters of such legislation as California’s Proposition 209 will soon take action against minority scholarships and programs. Regardless of the U.S. Supreme Court’s eventual affirmative action ruling, CEO and CRI intend to file federal complaints against 30 universities for such programs within the next few weeks.

The situation is grave, because since the letters went out weeks ago, five universities have opened their minority programs to all students, and some have threatened to cancel them altogether. CEOs and CRIs tactics are underhanded and their complaints play on public sentiment and force institutions, like the Virginia Polytechnic Institute, which recently cut all its programs, to preemptively take action without the Supreme Court’s precedent to be established in June. The universities are abandoning their principles in fear of public backlash. Furthermore, the case against special programs for minorities carries little weight. These programs and scholarships are necessarily specific; often they are privately funded and represent a specific, peripheral objective by a university that is unrelated to its main goal of providing education to the general populace.

If the CEO and ACRI so detest special preferences for minorities, they should also be complaining about the numerous scholarships for tall people, blondes and Republicans. For virtually every segment of the population, there is a special program or scholarship that gives a special advantage and incentive to go to college. To attack college incentives and the pervasive existence of special treatment is to attack almost every program in the United States. With the future of affirmative action in jeopardy, the need for programs that encourage minority participation in education is at its highest.

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