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Understanding Policies That Create Equal Opportunity What Are Policies That Create Equal Opportunity?
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What Are Policies That Create Equal Opportunity? • Programs to address ongoing discrimination against women, people of color, and others by increasing recruitment, promotion, and retention in employment and contracting and by removing barriers to admission in educational institutions.
Examples of Equal Opportunity Programs in Higher Education: • Men Into Nursing Program (UNMC) • Davis Scholarship (UNL/UNK/UNO/UNMC scholarship for underrepresented groups) • Summer Medical and Dental Education Program • Cather Circle Mentoring Program (women students & alumni) • UNL Summer Law Institute (program for students of color) • Black Executives Exchange Program (BEEP-pairs students of color with black business executives)
What Practices Are Illegal? • Discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, sex and age is illegal. • Any person has the right to file a complaint if he or she believes an opportunity has been denied because of discrimination. • Quotas of any kind are illegal and not part of opportunity policies.
What About Preferences? • There are a lot of preference systems, both formal and informal, built into hiring and admissions. • Many colleges have legacy systems that give preferences to children of alumni. • Sometimes preferences are given to achieve socioeconomic diversity or geographic diversity. • Preferences to achieve more gender-balanced and racially/ethnically diverse environment are just another in this list of preferences applied to candidates with the same credentials.
What’s the Impact on Worker/Student Quality? • Equal Opportunity Policies do not establish any practices that conflict with the principles of sound personnel management and equal opportunity law. • No one should be admitted or hired unless he/she is "fully qualified" and there is a basis for believing he/she will perform successfully.
Does Discrimination Still Exist? • For every dollar earned by men, women earn 77 cents, African American women earn 63 cents and Latina women earn 57 cents. • According to the Census Bureau, only 25% of doctors and lawyers are women. Less than 1% of auto mechanics are women. Women are only 8.4% of engineers. • Less than 3% of federal contracts go to women-owned firms. • Source: National Organization for Women
What Happened in California When Equal Opportunity Programs Were Ended? • Contracts awarded to minority-owned businesses dropped by more than 50%. • Contracts awarded to women-owned businesses dropped by more than 40%. • Only 1/3 of the women and minority owned businesses in place when the policy was ended are still in business today.
What Happened in California When Equal Opportunity Programs Were Ended? • Decreased the number of applications from African American, Latino and Native American students. • Underrepresented minority student admissions dropped more than 6% despite high schools graduating a significantly higher number of minority students. • In 2006 UCLA had only 96 African American students, its lowest number since the 1970’s.
Where Can I Learn More? • For more information on programs that promote equal opportunity visit: • U.S. Department of Labor: www.dol.gov • Leadership Conference on Civil Rights: www.civilrights.org • PBS’ NOW: Attacking Affirmative Action http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/434/index.html • ACLU: www.aclu.org • Nebraska Appleseed: www.NeAppleseed.org