…unless your racial origins would cause an imbalance in our carefully constructed palette of backgrounds, abilities and hues…
Asian-American groups filed a federal lawsuit challenging Harvard University’s affirmative action policies as discriminatory, and the Justice Department backs of plaintiffs who say the university is discriminating against Asian-American applicants. (I wrote about the lawsuit here.) Of course they are discriminatory. In its quest for “diversity,” Harvard and other schools have penalized Asian-Americans, who confound Charles Murray-haters and racial-privilege mongers by being disproportionately excellent in academics. On a level playing field, in a purely merit-based admission system, they would dominate elite institutions, with numbers far beyond what demographics alone would predict. Can’t have that! (This the leftist reaction, and they run U.S. education. My reaction: what an inspiring American success story!) Thus Harvard and other schools have used de facto quotas to reject Asian Americans who would have been admitted easily if they were a different color.
Outgoing Harvard President Drew Faust, a feminist proto-totalitarian who has shown an eagerness to stomp on basic human rights like speech, due process and association during her disastrous tenure, sent the campus a message this week attacking the law suit. Here it is:
Dear Members of the Harvard Community,
In the weeks and months ahead, a lawsuit aimed to compromise Harvard’s ability to compose a diverse student body will move forward in the courts and in the media. As the case proceeds, an organization called Students for Fair Admissions—formed in part to oppose Harvard’s commitment to diversity—will seek to paint an unfamiliar and inaccurate image of our community and our admissions processes, including by raising allegations of discrimination against Asian-American applicants to Harvard College. These claims will rely on misleading, selectively presented data taken out of context. Their intent is to question the integrity of the undergraduate admissions process and to advance a divisive agenda. Please see here for more information about the case.
Year after year, Harvard brings together a community that is the most varied and diverse that any of us is likely ever to encounter. Harvard students benefit from working and living alongside people of different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives as they prepare for the complex world that awaits them and their considerable talents.
I have affirmed in the past, and do so again today, that Harvard will vigorously defend its longstanding values and the processes by which it seeks to create a diverse educational community. We will stand behind an approach that has been held up as legal and fair by the Supreme Court, one that relies on broad and extensive outreach to exceptional students in order to attract excellence from all backgrounds.
As this case generates widespread attention and comment, Harvard will react swiftly and thoughtfully to defend diversity as the source of our strength and our excellence—and to affirm the integrity of our admissions process. A diverse student body enables us to enrich, to educate, and to challenge one another. As a university community, we are bound across differences by a shared commitment to learning, to pursuing truth, and to embracing the rigor and respect of argument and evidence. We never give up on the promise of a world made better by an assumption revisited, an understanding expanded, or a truth questioned—again and again and again.
Last month, I presided over our Commencement Exercises for a final time and reveled in the accomplishments of our graduates and alumni, and in the joy and pride of the faculty who educated them, the staff who enabled their manifold successes, and the family members who helped nurture them and their aspirations. Tercentenary Theatre was filled with individuals from the widest range of backgrounds and life experiences. It was a powerful reminder that the heart of this extraordinary institution is its people.
Now, we have an opportunity to stand together and to defend the ideals and the people that make our community so extraordinary. I am committed to ensuring that veritas will prevail.
Such transparent deceit is seldom trumpeted so loudly. Continue reading
Harvard College rescinded admissions offers to at least ten anointed members of the Class of 2021 after it discovered that the prospective students traded sexually explicit memes and messages in a private Facebook group chat. Some of the memes apparently mocked and denigrated minority groups.
The admitted students had formed the messaging group, “Harvard memes for horny bourgeois teens,”on Facebook in late December, 2016.
The members of the group sent each other memes and other images mocking sexual assault, the Holocaust, and the deaths of children, among other topis. Screenshots captured and obtained by the Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper, revealed that some messages joked that abusing children was sexually arousing, while others had punchlines targeting ethnic or racial groups, like one that called hanging a Mexican child “piñata time.”
Harvard administrators were alerted to the existence and contents of the chat and sent the students an e-mail that read,
“The Admissions Committee was disappointed to learn that several students in a private group chat for the Class of 2021 were sending messages that contained offensive messages and graphics As we understand you were among the members contributing such material to this chat, we are asking that you submit a statement by tomorrow at noon to explain your contributions and actions for discussion with the Admissions Committee. It is unfortunate that I have to reach out about this situation.”
A week later, at least ten members of the meme chat group were sent letters from Harvard announcing that their admission offers were no longer valid, and that the decision was final.
“As a reminder, Harvard College reserves the right to withdraw an offer of admission under various conditions including if an admitted student engages in behavior that brings into question his or her honesty, maturity, or moral character.”
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz Of The Day…
Was Harvard’s action fair, reasonable and proportionate?
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. Continue reading
See that young black man in the photo above, gracing the cover of the University of Wisconsin admissions brochure? The one apparently cheering for the Badgers at a Wisconsin football game? His name is Diallo Shabazz, and as a student at the school in 2000 had never been to a game in his life when someone photoshopped his head into a crowd shot to let potential applicants know how diverse the University of Wisconsin was. This infamous incident, which Jon Stewart had a ball with in the day (is the Daily Show really that old?), is apparently more the norm that we thought at the time.
Tim Pippert is a sociologist at Augsburg College in Minnesota. He and his researchers looked at more than 10,000 images from college brochures to compare the racial composition of students in the pictures to the colleges’ actual demographics. They discovered that diversity, as depicted in the brochures, was over-represented. “When we looked at African-Americans in those schools that were predominantly white, the actual percentage in those campuses was only about 5 percent of the student body,” Pippert told NPR. “They were photographed at 14.5 percent.” Continue reading
The General is not pleased.
Shame on George Washington University (in Washington, D.C.), not only for lying to its students and community, but also for dishonoring the name of the scrupulously ethical American icon which they presumed to expropriate as their own. Such things carry with it some crucial obligations.
For years, the GW admissions and financial aid offices have claimed in printed materials and on the University website that admissions were independent of need. The admissions process does not consider financial need during the first round of screening applications. Before applicants are notified, however the University examines its financial aid budget and decides which students it can actually afford to admit. Wealthier students are accepted, taking the spots of students who would need more financial aid from the University.
Last week, a GW administrator confessed to a student newspaper—one ironically called “The Hatchet” after the apocryphal axe little George used to cop down that cherry tree in Parson Weems’ fable—– that financial resources indeed were considered in the admissions process, and have always been considered despite University statements to the contrary. As recently as last weekend, admissions representatives told prospective students that their applications would be judged without consideration of their financial aid profiles. Until it was removed Saturday evening, the newspaper reports, the undergraduate admissions website read, “Requests for financial aid do not affect admissions decisions.”
That site now confirms a “need-aware” policy that has always been in place. George Washington University just had another policy of lying about it. Continue reading