Diversity and Inclusion in Law School and Higher Education

Title

Framing diversity: Examining the place of race in institutional policy and practice post-affirmative action

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

3-2019

Keywords

diversity, race, admissions, affirmative action, higher education, postsecondary

Abstract

The University of Georgia has operated under a voluntary “race-neutral” admission policy for the past 2 decades. Using frame analysis theory, we examine university documents and interview data from 11 campus administrators responsible for diversity efforts to understand how diversity is framed at the institutional and individual levels post-affirmative action. We compare our findings to the broader sociolegal discourses around diversity to present points of convergence and divergence among frames. We find official university framing of diversity has broadened over time to include numerous characteristics, while administrators hold divergent frames depending on their functional area, philosophy, and personal experience. We conclude that divergent frames may reflect and contribute to the challenge of advancing a coherent set of diversity efforts in a post-affirmative action context, where the place of race in institutional policy is muted. As more institutions consider admissions policy devoid of race to avoid protracted legal struggles, it may be especially important for institutions and administrators responsible for diversity efforts to be explicit with one another and with those whom they hire about how they will continue seeking racial equity

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