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“Asian Americans” Suit Against Harvard Because of Reverse Discrimination Undercuts Diversity, Opportunity

August 31, 2018

Today’s headline story in the NYTimes reads:

Asian-American Students Suing Harvard Over Affirmative

Action Win Justice Dept. Support

Once again our country is witnessing a desire to impose some kind of meritocracy based on testing, a meritocracy that flies in the face of the economic, racial, and skill diversity that makes our country great and makes post secondary education a rich and meaningful experience for all. I expect that not only Harvard but also every other college and university will push back against this effort to base admissions solely on “objective criteria”.

Over two decades ago, one of my daughters was accepted to two “elite” colleges. When we attended the weekends where the colleges invited prospective students to visit campus with their parents one of the points the admissions officers made at both schools was their intent to make the entering population both academically excellent AND geographically, economically, and culturally diverse. One of the schools made a point of emphasizing how many valedictorians and high SAT scorers were NOT accepted because of their efforts to create a class that was more reflective of the nation as a whole. In effect, these “elite” schools wanted to make it clear that their entry standards were NOT based “entirely on objective statistics”… they included other factors as well.

This reality was driven home in our initial visits to campuses as well where more than one school told a group of prospects that if the college orchestra needed an oboist or a strong tennis player that person might gain entry over someone with 1600 on their SATs. In order for colleges and universities to offer broad experiences for ALL students they need to be mindful of areas of excellence outside of the traditional “objective measures”. Indeed, I do not recall ANY school we visited in the mid-1990s who proclaimed they were identifying the “best and brightest” based solely on objective measures.

When objective academic statistics are the sole criteria for admission, music, the arts, and athletics will all suffer… and possibly endowments as well. But, presumably, that is a price worth paying to ensure “fairness” prevails.

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