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Why Size Matters in College Preferences

By Stuart Taylor, Jr. and Richard Sander Even for people who approve in principle of some use of racial preferences in university admissions — notably including Justice Anthony Kennedy — the size of the preferences, and of the resulting racial gaps in academic performance in college and beyond, should matter a great deal.  So it’s […]

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We Don’t Need a Different “Affirmative Action”

On the day the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Fisher v. Texas, a case challenging racial preferences in college admissions, the Wall Street Journal published a piece purporting to give “A Liberal Critique of Racial Preferences.” Author Richard Kahlenberg argued (as he almost always does) in favor of changing “affirmative action” to a system […]

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Why Are There Still Preferences for Women?

Using federal statistics, Laura Norén has prepared a series of graphics showing gender distribution among recent recipients of undergraduate, M.A., and Ph.D./professional degrees. The charts are visually striking, especially since all three sets of charts show movement in an identical direction. According to Norén, by 2020, women are projected to earn 61 percent of all […]

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Fisher and “Diversity”: The More Things Change…

Browsing through the collection of over 70 pro-“diversity” amicus briefs submitted on behalf of the University of Texas in the Fisher case, I am reminded, as I often am, of how eerily the current defense of “taking race into account,” i.e., preferential treatment based on race, resembles the old Southern arguments in defense of segregation. […]

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The Affirmative Action Zealots Have Won: Time to Surrender

For a half century I’ve vehemently opposed racial preferences in higher education. Opposition was partially ideological–I believe in merit–and partly based on sorrowful firsthand experience with affirmative action students and faculty. Though my principles remain unchanged I am now ready to concede defeat, throw in the towel and raise the white flag. Abolishing racial preferences […]

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Stereotype Threat Coming to the Supreme Court

Get ready for a brand new defense of affirmative action that you’ve never heard before: preferences are necessary to assure selection by merit. How can that be? Simple. Just rework Claude Steele’s theory of stereotype threat–that minorities do less well on tests than their abilities warrant out of fear that their performance will confirm negative […]

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“Diversity” Takes More Lumps

“Diversity,” as everyone surely knows by now, is the sole remaining justification for racial preference in higher education allowed by the Supreme Court. Defenders seem to regard it as even more essential to a good education than books in the library or professors behind the podium. But a funny thing has been happening on the […]

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The “Mismatch Thesis,” Eye-Opening Research, and the Fisher Case

As the most important higher-education case in a decade makes its way to the Supreme Court–the Fisher case on racial preferences–UCLA law professor Richard Sander had an excellent series of posts at the Volokh Conspiracy summarizing one critical argument that his research has helped to highlight: that even the ostensible beneficiaries often are harmed (or […]

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The Obama Video: Fuss and Obfuscation

The 1990 Harvard Law School video of Barack Obama endorsing a quota-hire protest unearthed by Buzzfeed has generated widespread comment in both the blogosphere and the conservative media. Much of the commentary from the right was overheated and wide of the mark; representative commentary on the left, however, was deliberately deceptive.

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Admission Standards and How to Lower Them Legally

Surprise, surprise. Affirmation action for college admissions is yet one more time in the hands of the Supreme Court (Fisher v. Texas). Given the Court’s changed personnel from the last go around (Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 2003), race-based preferences may soon be history. But, would this judicial outcome finally doom preferences? Opponents of […]

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What Will the Court Do About Affirmative Action?

As you probably know by now, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear Fisher v. Texas, depending on your point of view a promising or threatening challenge to affirmative action. Major and minor media, blogs, whatever, are all filled with cries of hope or wails of fear that the racial preferences sanctified in Grutter will […]

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Let’s Be Frank about Anti-Asian Admission Policies

On February 2 Daniel Golden, former Wall Street Journal reporter and author of a highly regarded book on college admissions, reported in Bloomberg’s Business Week that Harvard and Princeton are being investigated by the Dept. of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for discrimination against Asians. It’s not the first time. In fact, for the past […]

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Four College Buzzwords and a Shameless Plug

These days, the agenda of the academic elite can be boiled down to a few liberal buzzwords. The most important buzzword is “diversity,” which is usually nothing more than a code word for reverse discrimination and skin-deep identity politics. Recently, at Northwestern, they held a “race caucus” where 150 people gathered to discuss their experiences […]

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What the Madison Confrontation Reveals

Most observers have framed the recent disruption by backers of racial and ethnic preferences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a free-speech conflict. Free speech is clearly involved but lying below the surface are three issues that warrant close attention, specifically how Wisconsin once handled “inclusion;” how the protest reflects the transformation of the idea […]

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A Desperate Defense of Affirmative Action

The American Scholar is the official journal of the Phi Beta Kappa Society — the college honorary society– and like The New York Times and The New York Review of Books, its focus is highbrow and its writing quality generally of a high order.  Also like the Times and the NYRB, when dealing with current political […]

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“Bake Sales” Still Cooking On Campus

When the history of the decline and fall of the regime of racial preference is written, recognition will of course be given to the power of the moral, philosophical, historical, legal, and political arguments arrayed against the repugnant notion that benefits and burdens should be distributed on the basis of race. But it seems to […]

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The Quiet Preference for Men in Admissions

It’s a well-known fact that there’s a severe gender imbalance in undergraduate college populations: about 57 percent of undergrads these days are female and only 43 percent male, the culmination of a trend over the past few decades in which significantly fewer young men than young women either graduate from high school or enroll in […]

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More Subterfuge at UCal

Although my years of service on the University of California (UC) Board of Regents were the most tumultuous years of my life, my pride in the Board and the university that it serves has, until now, never wavered. But, a recent meeting and action by the Board has caused that feeling of pride to diminish. […]

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The End Of Merit-Based Admission

Students applying for college admission now face a new reality—the SAT is increasingly optional at our colleges and universities. The test-optional movement, pioneered by FairTest, a political advocacy group supported by George Soros and the Woods Fund—now list 815 schools that do not require SAT scores. That number may seem impressive, but it includes institutions […]

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The Noble Lies Of PC

“..the one aspect of American culture and society most in need of improvement and investment–education–has been greeted by deafening silence on the part of all candidates.” Leon Botstein, president of Bard College in his “charge” to the Class of 2008. Leon forgets to mention that all of today’s presidential candidates, including also-rans, offer detailed prescriptions […]

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Fuzzy Admissions At UCLA

If you like “whodunit” books and “perfect crime” plots, I heartily recommend the Tim Groseclose experience of trying to obtain the data to evaluate the “holistic” admissions process of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). Groseclose is the political science professor who blew the whistle on what he considers to be UCLA’s violation […]

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Ending Racial Preferences: The Michigan Story

Book Review: Ending Racial Preferences: The Michigan Story by Carol M. Allen (Lexington Books, 2008, 422 pp.) I like this book, but fairness to the prospective reader requires disclosure of three facts: (a) it is an odd book, (b) I am an odd reader, and (c) it costs ninety dollars, for Pete’s sake. The last […]

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The ABA’s Diversity Agenda

The ABA is very big on diversity. To satisfy its standards, nearly all law schools must seriously relax their admissions standards for minority students. But how many of so-called beneficiaries of affirmative action are graduating and passing the bar? And how many are winding up with nothing to show for their trouble but students loans? […]

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Is There An Asian Ceiling?

Several years ago a Korean-American student in one of my politics classes at Princeton described the reaction of his Asian classmates in the California private school he attended when the college acceptance and rejection letters arrived in the mail the spring of their senior year. A female Black student, he explained, had applied to more […]

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Texas Sued Again Over Racial Preferences

The University of Texas has been sued once again over racial preferences in its admissions policy – by an 18-year-old high school senior in Sugar Land near Houston who ranks in the top 12 percent of her class but says she was turned down by the university’s prestigious Austin campus in favor of less academically […]

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