The Vermont Connection


Kristine A. Din


With a focus on the Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) community, I begin by defining affirmative action and tracing its history and metamorphosis over the past 50 years. What once was a policy to support marginalized groups like the APIA community is now evolving into negative action – a tool to prevent mobility and access to higher education. Negative action, which stretches back to the 1980s, is a way for institutions of higher education to prevent the admission of candidates of Asian or Pacific Islander descent because of their rising numbers in enrollment and their accompanying perceived success. This paper spotlights the University of California, Los Angeles and Berkeley campuses, and how the Board of Regents has modified both eligibility and admission policies that may seem to promote equality and equity for all candidates, but actually support the practice of negative action. Grounded in the model minority myth, negative action maintains the status quo of White dominance. This paper will address the existence and consequences of negative action, its connection with the model minority myth, and its potential future impacts.