NASW Supports Supreme Court Decisions on Affirmative Action

Washington — The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) supports the Courts rulings on the University of Michigans affirmative action admissions policies. NASW and four other social work organizations supported the University of Michigans positions on affirmative action without endorsing any particular path to the goal of student diversity.

The Courts decision adopts a position that is fair to applicants, but works to enlarge the pool of applicants for consideration without assigning a specific weight to racial factors. This is consistent with social work values and commitment to advocacy on behalf of historically oppressed people, says Terry Mizrahi, PhD, president of NASW. The Association is pleased with the Courts clarification that student body diversity is a compelling government interest, she adds.

Social workers have long supported affirmative action as a means of addressing discrimination still prevalent in todays society. While progress has been made as a result of civil rights action and legislationdiscriminatory habits, customs, and attitudes do not change easily. Opportunities in education, employment, and housing remain hampered. Affirmative action plans and policies continue to be needed in a variety of contexts to assist women and historically disadvantaged racial and ethnic groups. The intent of affirmative actionto lessen the impact of past discrimination and ensure inclusion in present day opportunitiescontinues to be a high priority for social workers.

NASW members work to advance both future and present-day parity, and believe that the goals of programs like affirmative action should be to provide access to qualified individuals, who either historically or directly have been denied opportunities because of race, gender, ethnicity, or economic status, while preventing the recurrence of discrimination.

For more information on social works commitment to affirmative action, please contact NASW Communications at 202-336-8236 or NASW General Counsel at 202-336-8217.

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