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1101gir Assessment

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This essay will analyse the article "Universities must aim higher on ethnic equality and diversity" by Vikki Boliver. The author applies the concept of equal outcome to ethnic equality and diversity through university submissions in the UK and presents the concept as the most moral form of ‘equality’. This essay will attempt to define the concepts of 'equality of outcome' and 'equality of opportunity', and will portray the article from an alternative viewpoint. The essay will also discuss that whilst both concepts can be portrayed as polar opposites, inequality of outcome is a product of inequality of opportunity at another level.

The author provides an analysis of the study released by the Runnymede Trust (Alexander and Arday, 2015). The report comprised of 15 essays. The report found that ethnic minorities are underrepresented in university admissions compared to white peers, have lower test results, face racial adversity and more 'uncertain graduate results'. The article also touches on the underrepresentation of ethnic minorities in academia. The author argues that universities have a 'significant way to come to equality', and asserts that policies and programmes enacted by the university are at risk of becoming mere symbolism. The author argues for universities to develop quotas for 'disadvantaged' students to make the situation 'more equal', i.e. the author is arguing for equality of outcome (Boliver, 2015).

Equality is a multi-faceted concept that can be difficult to concisely define. Instead, different forms intersect, and some act as precursors for another form, e.g. equality in law follows on from moral equality. When considering equality, there is an underlying assumption that each individual should be treated equally, unless there are grounds to treat them unfairly (Heywood, 2014, p. 369). Equality of outcome refers to the end result (the outcome) and focusses on the need of the individual, as opposed to equality of opportunity (the same starting point). Blanc's "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" plays into the idea that need presupposes individual's humanity and human right to have their needs satisfied irrespective of their merits (Goodwin, 2007, pg. 400). Equality in this sense would then require unequal treatment to compensate for inequalities, such as racial and educational disadvantages, and significant intervention from the State (Goodwin, 2007, pg. 401). The criteria of "need", who and what would allocate this "equality", and the social and economic impact of such a system are difficult to define, but is not within the bounds of this analysis. However, it must be noted through individual rights, the State grants individuals a space in which we are free to at without the interference of other individuals. In the context of the article, equality of outcome can be understood as creating an unequal situation to equalise the disadvantaged students by providing a specific allocation based of their ethnicity, rather than their merit (Boliver, 2015).

Boliver (2015) represents the concept of equal outcome as the most logical and moral way to proceed, stating that for universities to rectify the positive bias towards white students, admissions must be made anonymous (i.e. relate solely to test scores) and that universities must adopt quotas for ethnic minorities. This reinforces the idea that actual equality can be obtained through acts or policies that create an unequal situation, but provide to the needs of individuals.

The article argues for the concept of equality of outcome without acknowledging the concept of equality of opportunity, its benefits and how the two concepts intersect. Equality of opportunity is based on meritocracy, which means that each individual has the same opportunity but their achievements will decide the outcome (how the rewards are distributed). It is the concept that all individuals should be treated similarly, without arbitrary barriers, and those who are most qualified should be rewarded (Goodwin, 2007, pg. 401). Equality of opportunity operates under the belief that competition creates a



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