Affirmative Action

Can you legislate equality?
By Time Magazine – On Affirmative Action, The negative side

Can you legislate equality? One major attempt to do so began with the equal-opportunity hiring practices that business and labor were required to observe by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Johnson Administration later extended these regulations to educational institutions. Since then, some 2,000 colleges and universities have been struggling both to come up with "affirmative action" employment programs* acceptable to Washington bureaucrats and to defend themselves against literally hundreds of discrimination suits, many of them brought by women's rights organizations. Along the way, the 20 leading campuses have temporarily lost more than $28 million in federal research funds—withheld as a penalty for failure to satisfy Government equal-employment watchdogs.
Has it all been worth the effort? In public, college administrators and faculty members ritually endorse affirmative action. But in private, they tell a different story. So says Richard A. Lester, a Princeton economist who visited 20 leading universities in preparing a study on the federal antibias program for the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education. Lester's report, to be published this week by McGraw-Hill, concludes that the drive for equal opportunity in faculties has been a worthwhile effort in theory, and in practice a "painful experience" that has accomplished little for minority groups while doing violence to a long tradition of academic independence and excellence.
Lester, 66, a New Frontier liberal who was vice chairman of President Kennedy's Commission on the Status of Women, does not quarrel with the argument that minorities and (especially) women are vastly underrepresented in higher education. After all, women hold less than 38% of the instructorships and just 5% of the full professorships in U.S. universities. But he does insist that federal efforts to deal with the situation are clumsy and...