Race controversy over aid

Colleges and universities across the nation are making financial aid programs that were created specifically for minority students available to their entire student bodies.

The change is being made in response to pressure and legal action threats from officials in Washington D.C. After the Supreme Court’s unclear ruling in the Grutter v. Bollinger case in 2003, many colleges and universities have been under scrutiny for considering the race of their applicants during their admissions process.

According to the office of institutional research, St. John’s University rewards about 14,000 scholarships and grants a year. Fewer than 6,000 of those scholarships are rewarded because of race.

Some students were able to talk positively about affirmative action. “Giving minorities an edge in the college admissions process is better for education,” said Manny Jeter, a minority student at STJ. “It diversifies classrooms, and whenever you’re able to hear different perspectives in a classroom discussion, your learning will increase. Getting more minorities into college is a step forward in American education.”

But many students across the nation bring up the idea of affirmative action as being reverse racism.

“I think that giving minorities an edge in the college admissions process is more racist toward minorities than toward white people,” high school senior Kathleen Hamm said. “It’s saying that white people are better than minorities, and minorities need some extra help to achieve the same goal.”

Jeter, although he supports affirmative action, agreed with Hamm’s point.

“It is racist towards minorities,” he said. “It confirms an image of minorities being inferior, but that image was already there, and that image is always going to be there.”