Here Come the Advocacy ‘Studies’

UCLA’s Proyecto Derechos Civiles — also known
as the
Civil
Rights Project
— has just published a useful
new study
suggesting the extent of racial discrimination in
graduate school admissions. It examined minority graduate enrollments in four
states with bans on racial preferences — California, Florida, Washington, and Texas
(where the ban is no longer in effect), and the results are nicely summarized in
this chart from the
Inside Higher Ed article
trumpeting the study:


Field

%
of Minority Graduate Enrollments Before Ban

%
After Ban

Drop
Since Ban

Engineering

6.2%

4.6%

-26%

Natural
sciences

7.8%

6.3%

-19%

Social
sciences

12.1%

10.2.%

-16%

Humanities

10.2%

9.0%

-12%

 

The Civil Rights Project, of course, touts
its findings
not as providing evidence of the degree of
discrimination in states without bans on racial preferences but rather as
dramatic proof “that the bans have led to marked declines in key areas of
graduate studies.” These findings, it claims, “are particularly timely as the
U.S. Supreme Court, during its upcoming fall term, will consider in Fisher v. University
of Texas at Austin whether race-conscious admissions policies are necessary to
produce the student body diversity the University believes is essential for its
educational success.”

Get used to it. There will no doubt be more
such advocacy “studies” coming out as Fisher approaches.

I was all set to launch into an extended
critique of these findings — If we need to produce more STEM graduates for
reasons of national security, why limit our efforts to producing more STEMs of color? What about all
the recent evidence demonstrating that racially preferential admissions harms
the recipients and produces fewer graduates than if the preferred had attended
institutions more in keeping with their qualifications? Etc. But, you’ll be
pleased to hear, I don’t have to.

Roger Clegg, who was prominently quoted in
the IHE article, has already done so. In a devastating
7 point comment
, he demolishes the study, leaving me with
only one thing to say: What he said.

John S. Rosenberg

John S. Rosenberg

John Rosenberg blogs at Discriminations.

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