Vandy Professor: Affirmative Action Alive and Well

Jun 25, 2013

Claire Smrekar is an associate professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt University.

WASHINGTON (AP/WMOT) — Tennessee’s Colleges and Universities can continue to use affirmative action in admissions thanks to a ruling from the United States Supreme Court.

Vanderbilt University’s Dr. Claire Smrekar specializes in issues of affirmative action in education. She says yesterday’s ruling reaffirmed the constitutional underpinnings of affirmative action.

However, she says the justices did remind lower courts that strict standards must be applied when using race as an admissions factor. She says that’s something Tennessee’s institutions of higher education are already doing.

“What they can demonstrate quite clearly, is that they use race as one of many factors; that they provided – or employ – an individual, holistic review of each candidate. And that’s what (Justice) Kennedy is underscoring or emphasizing once again.”

A proposal to restrict the use of race as a factor in hiring and college admissions failed in the most recent session of the Tennessee General Assembly, but supporters vowed to reintroduce the bill next year.