Case #833.1

Affirmative Action in the City of Pasadena (Epilogue)

Publication Date: January 01, 1988
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This three-and-a-half page ethics case describes a policymaking dilemma that confronted the Pasadena City Council in the spring of 1985: whether or not to extend affirmative action protections, designed for blacks, to Armenian-Americans. It briefly summarizes the content of the city's affirmative action statute, the demographic makeup of Pasadena, and the divisions within the Armenian-American community in southern California. It describes incidents of alleged discrimination against Armenian-Americans--which prompted initial interest in the protections of affirmative action law--and sketches the arguments articulated both in support of, and in opposition to, this proposal. It ends with the city council considering both the original proposal and a counter-proposal put forward by the city's Human Relations Committee: to extend affirmative action protection to any immigrant who had been living in the United States fewer than 15 years. A half-page epilogue tells students how the city council actually voted.

Learning Objective:
Students may be asked to play the role of city councillors, and to analyze what assumptions about affirmative action policy underlie the various options open to them.

Other Details

Case Author:
Pamela Varley
Faculty Lead:
Marc Roberts
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States