Discussion tackles affirmative action

By Hanh Quach

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Parties for and against affirmative action agreed on the goal of "a color-blind" society, but dissension still remained at yesterday's forum on achieving equality.

Charles Starks, a first-year law student at the UA, said the attitudes at the forum mirrored what he saw in society as a whole, saying that both sides have not addressed differing solutions to achieve their goal of equality and freedom.

Organized by the Black Law Student Association, seven panelists discussed their stance on affirmative action in a debate-turned-forum in the Senior Ballroom.

"It was supposed to be a debate, but the moderator didn't show up," said panelist Travis Nabahe.

"The problem is, they're walking parallel to one another and not seeing that all of (their viewpoints) are actually part of the same issue," Starks said.

"Racial discrimination should not be tolerated bottom line," said Eric Clingan, chairman of the College Republicans.

Both sides agreed that affirmative action did not suggest quotas or lowered standards to accommodate "quotas."

But, "affirmative action leads to all these things," said John Keisling, a mathematics graduate student.

"Can we compare 30 years (of affirmative action) as sufficient to 200-plus years of slavery?" Nabahe said.

Rick Danielson, a visitor from San Francisco, confirmed for the audience the importance of maintaining affirmative action and said that the College Republicans "based their world on utopian dreams."

Matthew Mungovan, an engineering junior, said, "There's an ideal involved in that we're striving for a color-blind society."

Offering preferences, however, does not contribute to a color-blind society, he added.

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