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In November of 1998, Washington voters passed Initiative 200 (I-200), which reads, “the state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” Source.

While I-200 is a state mandate and must be observed, efforts to recruit a diverse workforce through outreach, networking, and marketing are encouraged, and necessary to ensure a well-rounded pool of qualified applicants. As a federal contractor, the University of Washington is not exempt from federal law as it relates to Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action. Affirmative action and I-200 are not in opposition to each other, but rather can support diverse hiring goals. Affirmative action does not mean, and has never meant, quotas and preferences. As defined by Executive Order 10925 (signed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961), Affirmative Action requires that federal contractors “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin.” Source.

The University of Washington’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EOAA) supports both legal compliance and a spirit of equal opportunity as it relates to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, or status as a disabled veteran or Vietnam-era veteran, or other protected veterans. More details are available in the UW’s Affirmative Action plan.