Romney scuttled, revived Mass. affirmative action
There were no news conferences, no press releases trumpeting Romney’s executive order on Bunker Hill Day, June 17, 2003, in the deserted Statehouse. But when civil rights leaders, black lawmakers and other minority groups finally learned of Romney’s move two months later, it sparked a public furor.
Romney drew criticism for cutting the enforcement teeth out of the law and rolling back more than two decades of affirmative action advances.
Civil rights leaders said his order stripped minorities, women, disabled people and veterans of equal access protections for state government jobs and replaced them with broad guidelines. They complained Romney hadn’t consulted them before making such drastic changes, snubbing the very kind of inclusion he professed to support.
“It was done under the radar and there was a big backlash,” said Michael Curry, president of the Boston branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “It was clear Romney really did not have an appreciation for the affirmative action policies long in place.”