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The history of affirmative action policy consists of a broad collection of executive orders, bureaucratic decisions, course cases, and state legislation designed to eliminate unlawful discrimination of applicants to educational programs or professional employment, to remedy the results of such prior discrimination, and to prevent discrimination in the future. Although targeted legislation has expanded protections beyond underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in education and employment to include women, people of a certain age, people with disabilities and veterans, the actual policy intent of affirmative action remains a source of confusion for students, particularly when college textbooks define the topics within a race-only paradigm and without the inclusion of gender, age, disability or other protected categories. This study posits that Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin cases can be useful for teaching college students about why affirmative action policy is still relevant for diversity and inclusion in higher education and beyond.



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