Asian-American Students Take Aim At What’s Unethical About Affirmative Action


The ethics problem with affirmative action is that its utilitarian trade-off is undeniably unfair and hypocritical. In order to admit African-American students whose test scores and grades would not normally allow them to be admitted to elite institutions, racial preference is used to justify not admitting white students whose credentials would otherwise qualify them for entry. Diversity justifies racial discrimination.

Asian-Americans have long been an embarrassment to this theory. Even though it is another minority group that was the target of institutional and social prejudice in this country, and despite added disadvantages of language and culture, Asian Americans as a group have better test scores and grades than the supposedly privileged whites. Not only does this fact call into question some assumed explanations for the consistently lagging performance of African-Americans, it also threatens diversity policies by raising the possibility of a student body disproportionately Asian American, with whites students being squeezed out at one end by  superior Asian-Americans  and on the other by Affirmative Action-assisted blacks.

How have universities avoided this problem thus far? They have avoided it by applying quotas to both Asian-Americans and African-Americans. The problem is that the quotas on Asian Americans limit their numbers, regardless of their qualifications.

A group called the Asian American Coalition for Education has filed an official complaint  with the Department of Education and Department of Justice claiming that Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth have unlawfully discriminated against Asian-Americans in their admissions policies.

The Coalition is composed of more than 100 local, state and national organizations. In its complaint,  the group accuses the schools of  “maintaining racial quotas.” Why does it think such a horrible, un-American, prejudicial and racist practice is occurring? Well, at Yale, for example,  Asian-American enrollment has declined “despite the number of college-aged Asian-Americans more than doubling since 2011.”

Huh. How odd.

The group argues that this occurs because of “racial quotas and caps, maintained by racially differentiated standards for admissions that severely burden Asian-American applicants.”

That would be my conclusion as well.

Obama’s Education Department will not treat this complaint objectively, because like the rest of the administration, it is committed to protecting one race’s rights and interests above all others and the public interest at large.  Last year the Education Department dismissed a complaint against Harvard University, deferring to the  Supreme Court’s ruling on the race-conscious undergraduate admission policy at the University of Texas at Austin.

The group said it filed the complaint to generate social and political pressure even if the DOE succeeds in blocking it. After a Republican  Department of Education started investigating Harvard’s quotas in 1988, the college’s admission rate for Asian-Americans jumped to 16.1% in 1991 from 10.8%. After Asian-American students filed a complaint against Princeton in 2006,that school’s admission rate for Asian-Americans increased to 25.4% in 2014 from 14.7% in 2007.

All just a coincidence, I’m sure. All right, I’m sorry for the sarcasm, but this issue has troubled and angered me for years. The practice is so clearly unfair, and yet its practitioners are so self-righteous about it.

Universities continue to use the same double-talk and denials that have characterized their defense of de facto racial quotas for decades. The schools named in the complaint all said they used a “holistic approach” and evaluated each applicant individually in an effort to build a diverse class. It just happens that Asian-American kids get screwed, but hey, they’re smart; they’ll get into good schools and do just fine.

I hate to be telling tales out of school (literally), but I was involved in Georgetown Law Center’s admission policies for many years. There weren’t formal, written quotas; we just made sure that there was a certain balance of races, and if that meant  better qualified students had to go to George Washington because they weren’t the right color, well, it was all for the greater good. That’s what you call “holistic.”

Hilariously, the director of Asian American Studies at the University of Maryland, Janelle Wong, is quoted by the  Yale Daily News as saying that the Coalition’s complaints “can have a detrimental effect on a university’s commitment to racial and ethnic inclusion,” and that “it can be intimidating to be accused of having a biased admissions system.”

Especially if you have one.


Sources: Wall Street Journal; College Fix



79 thoughts on “Asian-American Students Take Aim At What’s Unethical About Affirmative Action

  1. Just because it is on the general subject:

    Nonetheless, Samson found that white Californians had inconsistent views on how much weight should be given to test scores when evaluating applicants. White Californians were much more likely to emphasize GPA when they perceived black people as their competition. However, when they compared themselves to Asian applicants and were told that Asian students are overrepresented on college campuses, white Californians deemphasized the importance of GPA.

    Indeed, the degree to which white people emphasized merit for college admissions changed depending on the racial minority group, and whether they believed test scores alone would still give them an upper hand against a particular racial minority.

    “If grade point average is understood simply as an indicator of an individual’s work ethic or average academic achievement over a period of three or more years of high school coursework, the importance that grade point average should have as an admissions criteria should not vary based on the racial makeup or perceived group competition,” Samson wrote.

    As a result, the study suggests that the emphasis on merit has less to do with people of color’s abilities and more to do with how white people strategically manage threats to their position of power from nonwhite groups.

    Nonetheless, Fisher perpetuates the myth of meritocracy that everyone with the same skills and experience should have the same access to opportunities regardless of their background, despite evidence that shows otherwise.

    A 2009 sociological study found that white applicants were three times more likely to be admitted to selective schools than Asian applicants with the exact same academic record. Additionally, affirmative action will not do away with legacy admissions that are more likely available to white applicants.

    Most elite colleges have never been about just straight gpa and test scores. If Harvard wanted to fill an entire class with Midwestern, left-handed oboe players with a 4.0 gpa and 2400 SAT score, they could do that. But obviously they don’t want to just throw up their hands, have a computer put in some numerical criteria, and pick people at random who fit that numerical criteria. Many national universities work that way in Europe, but we are talking about elite private universities over here. So instead they pick and choose exactly what kind of class that they want, looking at essays geographical location, etc.

    Even if they weren’t looking specifically at race, I’ve read many admission officers complain that many Asian applicants offer nothing after gpa and scores to distinguish them from any other applicant. No interesting extracurriculars, no struggling background, no volunteering/risk-taking compared with other applicants. I haven’t worked in admissions, so I have no idea whether that is true or not, but that is one thing I remember reading in several articles about the subject.

    • Point exactly?

      All you’ve managed to explain is that when various groups of people with plenty of merit compete against each other, they focus on their individual merits that happen to be stronger suits than their competition. So?

      The issue here is trumping any one’s particular set of merits with a characteristic (race) that is completely irrelevant to merit.

        • Eh. Color is not a merit. Neither is having a parent that went to the university. Or geographical rarity. Or being a man (colleges provide affirmative action to men now, since women tend to apply in more numbers, with better stats). With a private university, all bets are off. Public universities, eh. As far as I’m concerned, they can all operate like California, and take the top 10% of every class, or everyone who scored perfectly on their SATs, or whatever. I do think the criteria, whatever it is, should be at least more transparent than whatever private universities require.

          I’m of two minds about affirmative action. As power and privilege do tend to retrench and replicate through the generations, there does have to be some method of disrupting this tendency, so that we get something actually approaching a meritocracy, rather than an oligarchy and a racial caste system. Is our current system the best way to do it? Probably not. But I haven’t heard anyone persuasively come up with any alternatives, so until then, this is what we have until something better is formulated.

          • “As far as I’m concerned, they can all operate like California, and take the top 10% of every class, or everyone who scored perfectly on their SATs, or whatever.”

            Except California does not do that. As in most other state systems, Asians need to score higher on SATs than other races just to get into the UC system schools:


            …”It uses the term “bonus” to describe how many extra SAT points an applicant’s race is worth…African Americans received a “bonus” of 230 points, Lee says.
            She points to the second column.
            “Hispanics received a bonus of 185 points.”
            The last column draws gasps.
            Asian Americans, Lee says, are penalized by 50 points — in other words, they had to do that much better to win admission…

            This race-based quota system does not disrupt the tendency towards “power and privilege” replicating through generations. That entire mode of thinking is insane and has no place in any educational system if the goal is to make the general population smarter and more capable.

            What it does is prevent people with potential from being able to realize their potential, because of the color of their skin. It punishes positive cultural habits and attitudes and rewards negative ones. It’s also patronizing and insulting to Blacks and Hispanics, who are assumed to need a booster seat to get into college.

            I also find your opinion that private schools discriminating is somehow ethically kosher because they’re private…confusing.
            Should other private institutions discriminate based on race? Can restaurants charge different prices for a sandwich based on race? Maybe we can test customers for “privilege” first? We wouldn’t want a person to actually BENEFIT from being raised in a positive environment now. Is that the road we want to go down?

            • Except California does not do that. As in most other state systems, Asians need to score higher on SATs than other races just to get into the UC system schools:

              From reading the article, the part you quoted doesn’t seem to be about California Universities, at all. Probably about admissions at Princeton University. Race-based admissions were outlawed in California under Prop 209.

              Can private colleges discriminate? …Eh…yes, I guess they can. I don’t have a problem with BYU only admitting Mormons. Or Morehouse only admitting guys. So, in theory, I suppose a college out there could only admit whites, or Asians. It’s not really a public accommodation, since not everyone can utilize it, and there aren’t public funds. The last part being the big stick, of course. If they are using any public funds, it really doesn’t apply. And most private universities still use federal funds for different purposes, which is how the feds get involved. But barring that, I think a private university could discriminate, if for some reason it wanted to.

          • “colleges provide affirmative action to men now, since women tend to apply in more numbers, with better stats”

            Citation please? I can’t say I don’t believe it, or that I didn’t see it coming, but I’ve never actually heard of it.


              “Men are being admitted with lower grades and test scores,” said Scott Jaschik, editor of Inside Higher Ed, which conducted the survey. “While a lot of people don’t like to talk about it, a lot of colleges are basically doing affirmative action for men.”

              What’s behind the aggressive push for male students is the decades-long trend of more women on campus. Women have comprised a majority of students in higher education since 1979, one year after the Bakke decision. And that trend is accelerating. The National Center for Education Statistics projects that women’s enrollment will increase 16 percent by 2020, compared to 8 percent for men. At that point women will comprise 59 percent of post-secondary students, men just 41 percent. In 2009, the most recent year for which data are available, the gender split was 57 percent women, 43 percent men.

              “Many people think that is not good for the educational needs of the country – that you don’t want men left behind,” said Jaschik. “And it’s also not seen as desirable for the social environment of the colleges.”

              Many colleges have sought to remedy that imbalance by admitting more men, especially among undergraduates, forcing schools to reach deeper into the applicant pool. In the survey released last week by Inside Higher Ed, a web site that focuses on education news, 11 percent of admissions directors said they admit male applicants with below average test scores and grades. Only 3 percent of the 462 surveyed said they admit female applicants with below average credentials.

              At public 4-year colleges the number is even higher. Almost one-in-five 18 percent – are so hungry for male students admissions directors report admitting men with lower academic credentials, according to the survey.

              There are a lot more articles out there, but this one gives the basic gist.

              • Craziness. Like I said: I’d believe it as an idea on it’s face: The decline of men in university has been well documented. But as with so many other issues… As opposed to actually dealing with why male enrolment is decreasing, they’ll just lower standards on the demographic.

                • But simply the ratio of men to women in Universities today compared to the ratio of men to women in Universities in yesteryear isn’t sufficient to draw valuable conclusions.

                  I would want to ALSO know:
                  Ratio of Men in Universities to the general male population TODAY compared to the ratio of men in Universities to the general male population in yesteryear.

                  Same goes for Women in Universities to the the general woman population.

                  Additionally, I’d like to see All possible degree plans and professions offered at Universities today compared to yesteryear.

                  You see, if 20% of the male population of 2015 is university educated while 20% of the male population of 1955 is university educated…that may very well reflect no *substantive* change to the society EVEN if 30% of the female population of 2015 is university educated while only 10% of it was in 1955….

                  Though the ratio of men to women shifted in that hypothetical from 67-33 split to a 40-60 split….

                  Further mitigating this: What if the reason women ranks exploded in universities is that many more “traditionally” female interests became accessible in higher education, where before, they didn’t.

                  It’d be interesting to see how the ratios play out in various degree programs. Just saying “more women go to university now than men do” is a fairly useless observation.

                  • “Ratio of Men in Universities to the general male population TODAY compared to the ratio of men in Universities to the general male population in yesteryear.”

                    The percentage of the population has never really deviated more than a point or two from parity… so a 59% female college population is… OH. I get it. Are more people attending college, period. Where are those demographics from and what are they attending? Are women attending Feminist Dance Therapy classes instead of either being in the workforce or taking care of a household like they were previously? Are there just as many men proportional to the population in school getting the same ratio of degrees they were before in useful majors like STEM?

                    Point taken.

                    But it’ll be interesting to see how feminists spin this. I’mma go pop me some corn.

    • Yeah…. I don’t see the line connecting the data with the conclusion.

      You have a person, who sees another person, and they are in competition for something, and so the first person trying to weigh the odds in their favour is indicative of that person being a racial supremicist? That the person is actively attempting to maintain their grasp on power?

      I want to point out a glaring indicator of partisan hackery for a moment (aside from how this came from Vox. VOX deery.):

      Click to access frank_samson.pdf

      Is the actual study that Vox was…. interpreting… in that article. The most obvious problem with this study is actually the sixth word of it: White. This study focused on white people, as opposed to group threat as a theory. What does that mean? We don’t know how Black or Asian people would react in the same situation. I would suggest that the authors were looking for a question to an answer they already had. So while a reasonable person could say something like: “In a situation where respondents know nothing else about their competitors except their race, they will attempt to weigh the competition in their favour using racial stereotypes.” Which… Could be wrong…. Except the numbers would say that those stereotypes were a smart gamble, especially other things being equal. Black people on average tend to test poorer than white people, who tend to test poorer than Asians.

      What that doesn’t prove is that this is a uniquely white trait, or that this indicates anything more than that individuals if allowed will try to skew competitions in their favour.

      Second: The sample size was self-selected and minuscule.

      “The GBO data were collected through a random-digit dialed, computer assisted telephone interview, with a total sample size of 993 respondents. The response rate (ratio of interviews to eligible households) was 16%.

      They called 6206 people that met their criteria and got 993 that didn’t hang up on them.

      “Survey respondents are adults, age twenty-one and over, residing in California. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish, according to the respondent’s preference. As an analysis of the dominant group’s perspective, the current study selects for White (non-Hispanic) respondents, who make up 606 of the sample’s respondents.

      Of those 993 people who didn’t hang up, 387 weren’t white. I want to point out: This reinforces my earlier point about an answer searching for a question. At the point of data collection they had already chosen to ignore non-white respondents, which means they didn’t collect the data and realized there was a disparate racial outcome, they genuinely don’t know that there isn’t, and I believe this to be purposeful. For the record: I think this is a huge opportunity missed.

      Regardless, From a population of 6200 people (In a state of 39 million, or 0.0159% of the population the survey was meant to represent), they found 1000 people who didn’t hang up on them (0.0026%) and from that they had 600 people who were white enough (0.0016%). In no study in the history of ever has a sample size so low been deemed acceptable during peer review. They even admit as much in Appendix A, before grovelling at the mercy of the reader by explaining how the sample size might still be representative because of all the behind the scenes tinkering they did.

      And third: The authors literally made things up

      “Due to missing data on a number of independent variables, the valid N prior to multiple imputation of missing data was 440 White respondents. T-tests showed significantly different responses on the dependent variable between cases with and without missing values, indicating that the data were not missing at random. In order to address this issue, multiple imputations were conducted on the missing values (see Appendix A for more information). The results presented below are based on the sample with missing values addressed through multiple imputations.

      Because their sample size was so small (and somehow shrinking from 606 to 440 (0.0011%) in a way they never make clear), they realized that certain demographics were under-represented, and in looking at the data, they made the assumption that those missing demographics were purposeful: That is, the demographics that were missing were unlikely to respond to the survey, for whatever reason. In order to adjust for this, they imputated, that is, made up data with how they think the demographic would respond. Strangely, appendix A does not list the frequency, scope, or methodology of the imputations.

    • So white people tend to want things to be set up in a way that benefits them the most? Shocking discovery! It’s almost like human nature applies to white people. This is truly new information.

    • “Even if they weren’t looking specifically at race, I’ve read many admission officers complain that many Asian applicants offer nothing after gpa and scores to distinguish them from any other applicant. No interesting extracurriculars, no struggling background, no volunteering/risk-taking compared with other applicants.”

      So you’ve taken into consideration racists who complain that those Asians are all the same? Glad to get their input. It’s nice that thanks to exactly that kind of overt racism in academia, there have to be organizations set up to help Asians overcome racist admission officers:

      From the LA Times again: “At 10 centers across the state, the academy’s counselors teach countermeasures to Asian American applicants. The goal, Lee says, is to help prospective college students avoid coming off like another “cookie-cutter Asian.”

      “Everyone is in orchestra and plays piano,” Lee says. “Everyone plays tennis. Everyone wants to be a doctor, and write about immigrating to America. You can’t get in with these cliche applications.”

      Yeah, we don’t want too many tennis playing, musical immigrant doctors infesting the halls of power.

      • I’m just astounded that anyone would even try to defend this practice, and it shows a fatal lack of integrity that some progressives twist their values into pretzels to try. It’s indefensible.

      • He says, oblivious to the obvious connotation: That his ideology is comfortable with a system that was a cornerstone to one of the most oppressive racial injustices in modern history.

        • It’s like saying slave masters did not feed their slaves well-rounded meals. True, but sort of beside the point. I would wager that most people would not say the worst part of apartheid was the racial quotas, but the brutal police state, the overbearing repression, and the caste system from which no one from the black majority could rise. Quotas were a small part of why apartheid was so terrible.

            • No, the quotas were beside the point. The system was built to enforce racial superiority. Even if you had no hard quotas at all, you still would have had apartheid.

              • No, what Ejercito stated, and all of us managed to grasp (except you), was that a system that believed in racial superiority and designed its civic system around that belief was by NATURE a quota based system. The rest then was built to ENFORCE that Original Principle.

                You wouldn’t have quotas without apartheid …. you wouldn’t have apartheid without quotas.

                Our apartheid is just a whole lot softer and kinder, but it’s nature is the same as apartheid nonetheless.

                • Just so we are all working from the same definition here: (from the dictionary)

                  apartheid: : a former social system in South Africa in which black people and people from other racial groups did not have the same political and economic rights as white people and were forced to live separately from white people.

                  You can absolutely have apartheid without quotas (unless you are considering quota to be equal to 0, which at that point becomes meaningless, but ok). Jim Crow was an American form of apartheid, as was slavery. As was India’s caste system. Quotas were absolutely beside the point.

                  • Keep grasping though, it’s fairly moot. Ejercito’s quip and Humble’s subsequent explanation are spot on. You espouse a world-view built on principles that apartheid also built upon. That is to say, some races need to be kept out to a degree and some races need to be bolstered to a degree (affirmative action and apartheid merely differing by degree).

                    • Ok. LOL. If that is how you see it. Seems a wee bit hyperbolic to me, but at this point, I don’t see how we will ever find merit in the other person’s point of view, so have a nice day.

                    • It hits me that the only thing holding back groups like BLM from apartheid-eque models of oppression is opportunity. If BLM had the same political connections and resources as the South African government, and if America’s citizenry were as disarmed and ignorant as South Africans, I wonder what the difference would be in practise?

                    • The difference? I’m sure some people around these parts could bend over backwards explaining exactly how it wouldn’t be the same as South African apartheid and how it would actually be an ok system to have…

                    • …I wonder what the difference would be in practise?
                      t would probably look like America in the 1960’s and earlier. If you aren’t old enough to remember it, there are several posters who can tell you what it was like. No imagination required.

                    • It’s like talking to someone who insists that a splinter and a sword thrust to the gut are basically the same, merely a difference of degree (“but they are both puncture wounds!”). Alrighty. You can have your perspective. I don’t find such things particularly fruitful for me though, so I bow out.

  2. It’s about time – and not because the quotas were/are there, and unfair, and everyone knew it (admin lackeys like Janelle Wong are proof that in the end this is about a differentiation of class, not race; assimilation hath biases to go with its privileges) – but because a flaw in the Left is thus exposed: you can’t make things right just ’cause you’re white. The cultural reticence that is often mistaken for shyness, insecurity or weakness in the Asian personality has inhibited that old American stick-up-for-yourself force that was lacking to push forward their own agenda. Welcome to the fray, friends. Let’s see if you can achieve your goals without violence.

    • “The cultural reticence that is often mistaken for shyness, insecurity or weakness in the Asian personality has inhibited that old American stick-up-for-yourself force that was lacking to push forward their own agenda. ”

      Not among the Koreans I know. lol

      • Good point. South Koreans-Americans are culturally fashion-forward individuals … but still I think not politically. On the other hand, those of Filipino descent who make up more than a third of a neighboring city’s population are a very hard-working, but very silent, majority. A joint Duke University – UC Berkeley study a few years ago found immigrants from India have founded more engineering and technology companies from 1995 to 2015 than immigrants from the UK, China, Taiwan and Japan combined, but they don’t tend to stand up on soap boxes. (Indians have also been 2nd in number only to Caucasians in medicine in the USA for almost half a century — how vital is that! — without voicing their complaints about quotas or discrimination. The Japanese have always kept a low profile, caring for their own elders, children and disabled with very rare recourse to public funds or facilities. I could go on . . . . The Chinese-Americans I know are not really exceptions in spite of having had continuous local government representation for nearly the last 40 years. The city, in its sacred PC-ness, elected a first-generation Chinese mayor, an “Obama”-like misfortune not acknowledged until his second term, so it seems as if this group would be outspoken, but they continue to be close extended-family centered rather than productive of independent leaders. Perhaps a candidate from one of these ancestries or from among the Hmong (pun or not, they are a diligent, self-upraising bunch) will step out smartly and speak up for all of us in future. Hope I live to hear it.

        • Excellent post. Two of the groups you mention, the Filipinos and the Indians , have a history of be colonized so it may be a cultural thing for them to not rock the boat. Unlike the Koreans who have a history of fighting invaders like the Chinese , Japanese and most recently the North Koreans.

          During the LA riots after the acquittal of the police who had beat Rodney King friends of mine express surprised that the Korean merchants armed themselves and protected their businesses. It didn’t surprise me in the least.

  3. In California, “UCLA” is known to stand for “Unwitting Caucasians Lost Among Asians.” If schools want to be considered elite, they need to admit the smartest kids. If the SAT doesn’t identify the smartest kids and you need to look at “volunteering” and other crap kids use to pad their resumes, you’re going to end up with more Kennedys, Al Gores and John Kerrys and George Bushes. “The best and the brightest.” What a joke. It really means some of the kids from wealthy and connected families.

    • If schools want to be considered elite, they need to admit not “the smartest kids,” but the kids who are most likely to accomplish great things after graduation. There’s some overlap between those groups but they are by no means identical.

      In any case, “the smartest kids” is not the same thing as “the smart kids who spent the most time cramming for tests.”

      Even in olden days when I was in high school, long before Asian-Americans had become an issue, the Harvard and Yale recruiters were emphatic that they were not looking for kids with perfect grades and test scores; they were looking for very smart kids who had demonstrated leadership and accomplishment. They rejected most of the applicants with PGATS, and most of the applicants who were accepted did not have PGATS. That’s still true today.

      The Kennedys and other rich, connected kids are a different issue entirely. Their applications go into a different pile from everybody else’s. They don’t need to pad their resumes.

        • What’s easier to believe: that 30%-40% of the smartest kids in the country are Asian? or that a disproportionate number of Asian kids with great grades and test scores spend too much time studying and not enough time doing the other things that make college a rewarding and enriching experience? (“Too much” and “not enough” being measured by the same criteria that Harvard has been using for decades.) The first suggests that Asians have a stupendous genetic superiority over everybody else. The second suggests that many Asian cultures value studying much more and those other things much less than Harvard ever has. Which suggestion is more offensive?

  4. As regards quotas that confer a disadvantage, if ever there was a reason for them, they’re past their use-by date.

    Ideally race wouldn’t be considered, but above/below levels of opportunity would. I have no idea how to measure that. Skin colour doesn’t seem to be an obviously valid metric though.

    80% from a student from a broken home and a hellish school-to-prison-pipeline “educational” establishment is by no means the same as 80% from a graduate of silverspoon academy.

    That’s just a fact. But how to measure the difference in a way that will reflect the prospective student’s actual chance and degree of success? No idea.

    What weight at this stage, 50 years after the Civil Rights Act 1964 should be given to any public good consideration of “diversity”, I don’t know. Not much, certainly. Some? Probably. A percent? Not more.

    What weight should be given to the idea that none of this “public good” stuff should be considered, given the very public bad of racial discrimination? I’d say more. But I’d need more data!

    • Great argument for why admissions should not be an impersonal random selection, but a very personal interview process combined with evaluation of a student’s on-paper stats…

        • Interviews before a panel?

          At least for more stringent degree plans…

          Of course, less stringent degree plans or career paths that really have no business wasting time in college like say, Journalism, or Art, or Women’s Studies, wouldn’t necessarily need such rigor…perhaps leave the doors open to the impersonal random selection needed there. Or just confer those degrees on people as soon as they apply to the university, thereby saving time and money for all involved while still distributing a similar amount of wisdom and knowledge.

  5. I wonder if the state should pursue a policy that increased the required number of black men admitted into black families?

    That alone would fix a considerable amount of the systematic problems facing the black community.

  6. I’m pretty sure that admission rates are the wrong end of this to be making judgments by. Graduation rates might be a bit more telling.

      • True. But getting in doesn’t guarantee that you’ll graduate, either. I’m curious to know what percentage of each ethnic group that is admitted actually graduates. It seems to me that, as a measure of success, getting in isn’t it. Graduating is. I may look it up myself, if nobody else does.

          • Okay, but there are a limited number of “seats” available in our elite colleges. They need to be distributed in such a manner to maximize their impact. If you give half of them to people who you know are not going to succeed, then you have literally wasted those “seats”. And if you distribute them to people who have limited scores and grades (and who are unable to get through an interview), then you have WILFULLY wasted them. More interestingly, you have set the students up to fail. You have forced them into a situation in which they do not have the skills to succeed. Personally, I don’t think that’s at all fair, and it is most certainly discriminatory.

  7. I remember my father telling me how when he went to college, they had quotas for the maximum number of Jews allowed. Nice to see we’ve made so much progress since then.

    • The Asians are an excellent comp for the Jews—a minority group that is easily identifiable from the general population, that succeeds because of a strong culture and dedication to positive values….thus embarrassing less successful groups and engendering resentment and distrust.

    • they had quotas for the maximum number of Jews allowed. If I’d kept copies of the comments I’ve made on Ethics Alarms over the past two? three? years I could have just reproduced one of the earliest, but since you brought it up, I’d like to speak to the accuracy of that statement: My father graduated from Columbia University some time in the 30s, 2nd in his class having majored in Pre-Med. He got his medical degree from a prestigious school … in Canada. Returning home, he started out as an old-fashioned GP, daily and evening office hours, the bulging black bag ready for home visits day or night, patients of all ages, races, income levels (I had for years until I lost it a 5 year old’s crayon drawing of two figures, one with a beard lying in bed labeled “My Grap,” the other, standing at the bedside, named “Docer K”: both faces had big smiles and and teardrops falling from their eyes at the same time.) The “docer” chose obstetrics as his specialty in 1939 and pioneered a number of aids to childbirth, reducing varicosities (thus, clotting), fighting (and winning over eventually) the administrations of three hospitals to prevent “blue” babies (oxygen deprived due to mom’s over-sedation), lying-in to encourage bonding; the unheard of presence of baby-daddies regardless of legalities or the ejection of poisonous ‘old wives’ as necessary. He lectured at Yale-New Haven, Mount Sinai, and Johns-Hopkins, published in medical journals and Good Housekeeping magazine alike. In 25 years of practice he delivered over 2,000 babies with an amazing survival rate upward of 90% (including some pre-penicillin years) for both mother and child.

      The office decor changed over the years except for the presence and position of one framed letter, placed where it would be visible only to my father. The letterhead was from Columbia University School of Medicine, and read, succinctly: We regret to inform you that our Jewish quota has been filled.

  8. I just lost a long comment explaining how interviews are not feasible when you look at the number of college applicants and how that system would discriminate against middle and low income kids who would not be able to travel.

    Oh well.

    • Highly feasible when limited to truly rigorous disciplines where quality students are essential.

      Travel expenses?

      Don’t we live in a remarkable modern age of telephones and telephone conferences?

      Oh but those are expensive too texagg!!!

      Yeah colleges already expend exorbitantly in recruitment. This is not much more.

      • Part of my lost comment suggested increased virtual interviews, but even then there is no way colleges could interview every applicant. Cuts would have to be made first.

        • You keep missing the point about doing this for the rigorous disciplines that require a better caliber of student. I wouldn’t advocate it for the silly majors like journalism or women’s studies or art.

          • In a perfect world. any discipline that requires talent or speaking skills would involve some sort of interview — and that accounts for all of the liberal arts and actual arts majors. I would also argue that doctors and engineers should have speaking and other social skills. So, just about everybody “should” be interviewed. But it’s impossible. My undergrad had over 40,000 students. That’s a rotating body of 40,000 students with how many more tens of thousands of applicants each year? Yikes.

            Specifically to your point, art (silly or not in your opinion) should have an interview. Portfolios have to be reviewed and the artist’s philosophy and direction is important. I partially paid for college with a music scholarship. I had to show up with my instrument and audition for the program — I wasn’t allowed to send in recordings. Given that we were poor, that limited me to in-state colleges (so we could drive there). The rest of my tuition was primarily covered by an academic scholarship — but I also had to interview in person for the honors college. I’m not boo-hooing this in any way — I received a great education and have a great career. I’m just pointing out that economics factors into everything and adding additional layers to the admission process hurts poor and middle income people disproportionately. It didn’t even occur to me to apply to an out-of-state school. We couldn’t have gone through the admissions cycle.

            • Why on earth would an interview be geared towards evaluating speaking skills? The interview is to aid in determining whether or not you have a good STUDENT, not a good speaker. If speaking skills are necessary for the profession, then let the education after admission teach speaking skills.

              The interview is part of the the process, married to the evaluation of the person on paper, to determine if they are serious STUDENTS or not…not good speakers.

              • Whether it should or not, that’s really what interview measure. In many fields, this warps the evaluation. Theaters interview directors, which means that most directors are glib, but in fact speaking ability has little to do with stage directing.

              • For example: I work with technical people every day, and across the board, they are awful at communication. You can be the best programmer in the world, but if you can’t communicate your ideas effectively, you will only go so far. And do not even get me started on writing …..

                So sure, and keeping with my example, a technical arm of a college should admit the best students. But if you have 1000 equally qualified candidates for 100 slots, perhaps the communicators should be chosen as they will be the most likely to succeed.

            • Beth, you have my condolences on losing your post. I’m not sure that losing even a sentence’s worth of a really good thought that you’ve labored over isn’t one of the most discouraging things in this digital universe. I keep telling myself to work on long comments in a document or at least do a copy/paste every once in a while but when you get to working on something inside The Box, you don’t want to stop. And replacing the whole thing …? Hellish. But I am so glad you persevered, if just to save me from trying to defend Art against texagg04, which you did in a single simple sentence in your usual cool style. I’m glad that one got printed.

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