As federal contractors, academic institutions are responsible for abiding by the regulations enforced by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), which include taking affirmative action with respect to employment. The additional challenge for academic institutions is implementation of affirmative action in admissions. This is under the jurisdiction of the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Several recent court cases have clarified what can and cannot be done, and more recent challenges to affirmative action in admissions have just made things less clear.
History of Affirmative Action in Academia
Affirmative action in college admissions was first addressed by the Supreme Court in the case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, 438 U.S. 265 (1978) ("Bakke"), in which Allan Bakke, a 35-year-old white man was twice denied admission to the Medical School at the University of California, Davis. Bakke’s college GPA and test scores exceeded those from an