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Considering the subject of affirmative action the following questions frequently are raised: Is there a clear understanding of affirmative action roles/goals? What are the pros/cons of these programs? What are the "loop holes" in the system? Does seniority play a role in affirmative action? Addressing these key questions may help us all in our daily routine, as administrators and/or potential administrator in the public/private sector. Affirmative action programs throughout the United States have long been a controversial issue particularly concerning employment practices (public/private) and university student and/or staff recruitment. Most public agencies have some type of instituted affirmative action program. According to Cheryl Perry-League, Director of Equal Opportunity of the Port of Oakland, every business operating on Port of Oakland owned land must have a standing affirmative action program on record and businesses bidding to do work for the Port of Oakland must have an acceptably diverse workforce. BACKGROUND To understand the role and/or goals of affirmative actions programs we should define what the broad definition of what affirmative action is and what caused its development. The phase "affirmative action" was used in a racial discrimination context. Executive Order No. 10,925 issued by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. The order indicated that federal contractors should take affirmative action to ensure job applicants and employees are treated "without regard to their race, creed, or national origin." A person could define this statement as an order to imply equal access and nothing else. Subsequently, Executive Order 11246 issued by President Johnson in September 1965, "mandated affirmative action goals for all federally funded programs and moved monitoring and enforcement of affirmative action programs out of the White House and into the Labor Department." Affirmative action "refers to various efforts to deliberately take race, sex, and national origins into account to remedy past and current effects of discrimination. Its primary goal is to ensure that women and minorities are widely represented in all occupations and at all organizational levels" (Tompkins, 1995, p.161). Another definition of affirmative action according to Barbara Bergmann is "planning and acting to end the absence of certain kinds of people-those who belong to groups that have been subordinated or left out-from certain jobs and schools" (1997 p.7). Tracing the history of affirmative action, laws against racial discrimination have proved inadequate for workplace integration because they often provide remedies only after the fact.
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