Affirmative action could change in Colorado if ballot measure passes

12:58 PM, Jun 29, 2008   |    comments
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The Colorado Civil Rights Initiative has been certified for the fall ballot. If passed, no racial, ethnic or gender preferences could be used to determine whether a company would get a contract for a highway repair or if an African American student could gain entrance to the University of Colorado Boulder.

"We're a progressive state. We look at people based on who they are as people and not on their skin color," said Jessica Corry, the chief proponent behind the measure. "Coloradans are ready for this."

Corry says, if passed, Colorado's universities would have to be more creative, to develop stronger programs to ensure the diversity campuses thrive from.

Yet, Melissa Hart, a CU-Boulder professor and spokesperson for a group called Coloradans for Equal Opportunity, says history shows the populations of minority groups drops precipitously at universities in California (e.g. UCLA and University of California at Berkeley) and Michigan where similar initiatives were passed.

"This completely denies the social realities and creates a blind eye to the disadvantages that come with race and gender," said Hart, who is gathering signatures for a separate initiative that seeks to do away with affirmative action quotas or point systems, but which leaves "equal opportunity programs" intact.

"In a world where there was no discrimination, where in fact it was not a disadvantage to be African-American or Hispanic, then we could start talking about an equal playing field… We're not at that place yet," said Hart.

9NEWS and the University of Denver will host a program entitled "Ballot Initiatives 101" on Oct. 6 in the Gates Concert Hall. That afternoon, we will bring in advocates and opponents of many of the ballot initiatives viewers will decide this fall.

Click here to read more about Amendment 46.

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