What is Affirmative Action?
Affirmative action refers to the practice of improving the educational and job opportunities of members of groups that have not been treated fairly in the past because of their race, sex, etc. Affirmative action policies are those in which an institution or organization actively engages in efforts to improve opportunities for historically excluded groups in American society.
Affirmative action policies often focus on employment and education. In institutions of higher education, affirmative action refers to admission policies that provide equal access to education for those groups that have been historically excluded or underrepresented, such as women and minorities.
Affirmative Action Planning at UWM
To ensure compliance with federal laws on affirmative action, the federal government established the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Established in 1965 under Executive Order 11246, the OFCCP reviews, monitors, and enforces an institution’s affirmative action plan. The OFCCP posits that each employment agency is responsible for designing an “acceptable” affirmative action program, which “must include an analysis of areas within which the contractor is deficient in the utilization of minority groups … and further, goals and timetables to which the contractor’s good faith efforts must be directed to correct the deficiencies, and thus to achieve prompt and full utilization of minorities … at all levels and in all segments of its work force where deficiencies exist” (41 C.F.R. Sec. 60-2.10).
As an institution of higher education and an employment agency under the EEOC, UWM is required to prepare and maintain an approved Affirmative Action Plan. This plan is updated yearly with the assistance of various departments and human resource personnel on campus to ensure that UWM is continuing its progress toward achieving a more diverse workforce.