PRINCETON, NJ (January 5, 2012)—New Hampshire has passed a law prohibiting the use of racial and ethnic preferences in the public sector. The National Association of Scholars (NAS) hailed the measure as a new victory for equal opportunity on the basis of merit in higher education.
Other states have approved similar bans through ballot initiatives endorsed by voters. California’s Proposition 209 was the first in 1996. Washington (1998), Nebraska (2008), and Arizona (2010) followed suit, and the 1999 “One Florida Plan” is a partial ban of racial preferences in that state. The law approved by Michigan voters in 2006 remains in force pending a decision by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
New Hampshire thus joins a growing cohort of states that have made decisions to oppose racial and ethnic discrimination.
“We at the National Association of Scholars congratulate the New Hampshire legislators for their contribution to true social justice,” said Peter Wood, president of the NAS. “We are glad to see states taking steps in the right direction. No person should be prejudged by race or ethnicity, and to do so harms the integrity of our nation’s institutions such as higher education. New Hampshire has chosen instead to uphold individual merit and equal opportunity.”
Ward Connerly, president of the American Civil Rights Initiative and member of the NAS board of directors, added, "It is exceptionally difficult to eliminate certain policies once they become embedded in the national culture. Yet that is precisely what is happening with regard to race preferences.”
Connerly continued, “With major help from NAS, roughly one quarter of the American people now reside in a state where race preferences are forbidden, totally or partially: Arizona, California, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire and Washington. Such an accomplishment was unthinkable a few short years ago. While there is much work to be done, the end of race-based preferences can now be foreseen and the achievement of an academic meritocracy can be realized."
The next racial preferences ballot initiative will go to a vote in Oklahoma in fall 2012.
NAS works to improve American higher education by expanding intellectual standards, academic freedom, and institutional transparency in colleges and universities. To learn more about NAS, visit www.nas.org.