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  • Cited by 2
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
December 2019
Print publication year:
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Book description

Media, politicians, and the courts portray college campuses as divided over diversity and affirmative action. But what do students and faculty really think? This book uses a novel technique to elicit honest opinions from students and faculty and measure preferences for diversity in undergraduate admissions and faculty recruitment at seven major universities, breaking out attitudes by participants' race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, and political partisanship. Scholarly excellence is a top priority everywhere, but the authors show that when students consider individual candidates, they favor members of all traditionally underrepresented groups - by race, ethnicity, gender, and socio-economic background. Moreover, there is little evidence of polarization in the attitudes of different student groups. The book reveals that campus communities are less deeply divided than they are often portrayed to be; although affirmative action remains controversial in the abstract, there is broad support for prioritizing diversity in practice.


'Scholars seldom study ourselves - we think we know the answers - and it is hard to study complex and ideologically fraught issues - will people say what they really think? Yet Carey, Clayton, and Horiuchi have done both, in a research project as elegantly designed as it is substantively persuasive. We now know what the vague term ‘diversity’ means, who wants it and why - and we are even given reason to believe that Americans can rise above polarized controversy. This is a highly valuable study, for many reasons.'

Jennifer Hochschild - Harvard University

'This book is a must-read for anyone interested in racial attitudes and political polarization, especially on college campuses. Carey, Clayton, and Horiuchi’s careful experimental approach reveals less polarization than public discourse often assumes, even related to hot-button topics like affirmative action. Highly recommended.'

Natasha Kumar Warikoo - Harvard University

'Campus Diversity is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding the ever-shifting landscape of the politics of admissions and diversity on college campuses. Carey, Clayton, and Horiuchi use innovative experimental methods in a wide variety of institutional settings to show that millennial and Generation-Z students place real value on diverse learning environments and are willing to make admissions decisions to support these values. Their findings hold the potential to shed considerable light on the future of debates over diversity as the United States of America shifts to becoming a majority-minority nation by 2050.'

Alvin Bernard Tillery, Jr - Northwestern University, Illinois

‘In this exemplary book, they undertake an earnest, innovative approach to add to our understanding of student and faculty attitudes toward campus composition … The book’s impressive contribution owes much to the authors’ limited scope … As a methodological exercise, the book surpasses expectation. Methods instructors might well consider including it as an exemplar.’

Scott E. Page Source: Perspectives on Politics

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