The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity focuses its research and scholarship on race, ethnicity and social justice. The central goals of the Institute include reframing the way that we talk about, think about and act on race and ethnicity, and deepening understanding of the causes and consequences of and solutions to racial and ethnic hierarchy and disparity so that we can envision and realize a society that is fair and just for all people. We believe that affirmative action programs provide important tools for realizing that society.
Affirmative action is a set of programs designed to provide equal access and opportunity to disadvantaged groups, including people of color and women. Typical affirmative action initiatives include targeted outreach and recruitment efforts, the use of multiple criteria (including consideration of race and gender) in admissions and hiring, and targeted training programs. The Kirwan Institute believes that affirmative action programs are necessary in light of the depth and breadth of historical discrimination and modern-day structural racism. People of color and women still encounter institutional discrimination in our society, and affirmative action programs help remove those obstacles. They allow members of disadvantaged groups to be evaluated fairly in admissions and hiring, and thus ensure to them equal opportunities to achieve success.