Until fairly recently, the vast majority of U.S. college and university students were white men. At key points in the last 150 years, enrollment changed to include more women and people of color. However, even with greater overall participation in higher education, women and African-Americans had limited opportunities until the 1950s and 1960s. Members of other racial and ethnic groups also have experienced quotas or other limits on their full participation in higher education. In many cases, being married, being a parent, or having a particular political affiliation was cause for discrimination.
As the result of several landmark events, many groups became “protected classes” and have been provided with greater opportunities through the force of law. Many states have passed additional laws, and individual colleges and universities have enacted policies prohibiting discrimination in other areas, including sexual orientation, gender identity, and even genetic information.
As defined by the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (n.d.), protected classes in federal law are:
The groups protected from the [sic] employment discrimination by law. These groups include men and women on the basis of sex; any group which shares a common race, religion, color, or national origin; people over 40; and people with physical or mental [disabilities]. Every U.S. citizen is a member of some protected class, and is entitled to the benefits of EEO [Equal Employment Opportunity] law. However, the EEO laws were passed to correct a history of unfavorable treatment of women and minority group members.
Complete the following for this Question:
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. (n.d.). Equal employment opportunity (EEO) terminology. Retrieved from http://www.archives.gov/eeo/terminology.html#p
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