Frequently Asked Questions About Affirmative Action
The Maricopa County Community College District is a federal contractor subject to Executive Order 11246 which prescribes affirmative action in the hiring of women and minorities. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about Affirmative Action.
What is affirmative action?
It's a tool used to reach the goal of fair employment by eliminating the effects of past discrimination.
How does it work?
In applying the doctrine, a contractor ensures that applicants and employees are treated equally, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex or national origin. To accomplish this, the contractor develops a program that targets underutilized areas (i.e., job groups with a smaller representation of minorities or women in proportion to their actual representation in the qualified labor market). Affirmative action directs outreach and recruitment to these areas.
There's so much controversy associated with affirmative action--is it still being actively practiced?
The status of affirmative action is unclear to many people because of the passage of anti-affirmative action legislation in states such as California. Affirmative Action was also a source of heated debate during the last presidential election. While many states are taking a critical look at the practice of affirmative action, state laws do not overrule federal mandates. In the event of state legislation in Arizona, the Maricopa Community College District will continue its affirmative action program.
Isn't Affirmative Action just reverse discrimination?
"Reverse discrimination" has been used to suggest that the efforts to practice affirmative action for one group automatically results in discrimination against another. But an affirmative action program that focuses on underutilized areas and eliminates barriers to ensure all applicants have a fair opportunity to compete need not result in reverse discrimination.
Moreover, EEO laws extend to all persons who believe they have been adversely affected by illegal discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment), gender identity, physical or mental disability, age 40 and over, veteran status or genetic information. MCCCDs' nondiscrimination policy prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and citizenship status (including document abuse) as well.
Does affirmative action require quotas or "set asides" for minorities and women?
No, affirmative action does not require quotas or set asides. In areas where minorities or women are underutilized, hiring or promotional goals are established, per the Executive Order requirements.
Does MCCCD practice affirmative action in its student admissions?
Many public colleges and universities consider factors such as race and gender-- among other criteria--in student admissions. But MCCCD has an open-door policy: it does not use race or gender as an admissions criterion. While MCCCD's affirmative action plan highlights college activities and efforts related to the outreach and recruitment of minority and women students, official goals and timetables are for employees only.
MCCCD students are covered under the nondiscrimination policy for resolving complaints by students who believe they have been adversely affected by illegal or MCCCD-prohibited discrimination by the college/center, MCCCD, or its students or employees. Complaints may be based on race, color, religion, national origin, citizenship status (including document abuse), sex (including pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment), sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical or mental disability, veteran status or genetic information.
I'm an employee of the District. How does affirmative action affect me?
Affirmative action shouldn't negatively affect any person within the organization.
Affirmative action efforts generally take place during the recruitment and selection process and are designed to attract more qualified candidates, as well as provide broad perspectives on selection committees. Successful outreach and recruitment makes an applicant pool more competitive. In addition, affirmative action causes an organization to review how its employees are progressing within the organization and to assess if it has barriers that affect promotional opportunities.
I feel that I've been discriminated against. What should I do?
MCCCD has an internal complaint process for filing discrimination complaints. You can find a copy of the procedures as well as the complaint form (for students and employees) on our Web site.