The Chronicle of Higher Education takes a look at a new law in New Hampshire that prevents any affirmative-action policies being used at any public institution in that state.
The measure prohibits New Hampshire's university system, community-college system, postsecondary education commission, and other state agencies from giving preferences in recruiting, hiring, promotion, or admission "based on race, sex, national origin, religion, or sexual orientation."
Both chambers of the state's legislature, which came to be dominated by conservative Republicans as a result of the 2010 elections, overwhelmingly passed the measure last spring. The measure went into law after Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, took no action on it.
In sharp contrast to other states that have experienced highly publicized battles over similar bills or ballot initiatives, New Hampshire passed its measure with little input from national advocacy groups on either side of the affirmative-action debate.
State Rep. Gary Hopper, a Republican who co-sponsored the measure, on Tuesday said he believes that supporters of affirmative action might have been lulled by the state's defeat of similar measures in the past. When he first co-sponsored such a bill in 2000, he said, the legislature's meeting rooms "were full of people fighting against it." This time around, he speculated, "people were caught off guard" and "did not pay any attention" because they assumed such a measure would fail.