Positive campaign for college admission | Tech US News


In this week’s “It’s Debatable” segment, Rick Rosen and Charles Moster discuss the benefits of affirmative action in college admissions. Rosen is the Glenn D. West Endowed Research Professor of Law at Texas Tech University School of Law and a retired colonel in the US Army. Moster is the founder of the Lubbock-based Moster Law Firm with seven offices including Austin, Dallas and Houston.

Sample 1 –

The Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that will decide whether affirmative action criteria can still be used in the college admissions process. The outcome in Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina et al may have the same seismic effect as the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The questions before the Court are whether institutions of higher learning, in this case UNC and Harvard, can use race as a factor in college admissions and, if so, whether doing so violates the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution.

The use of race-related factors in any selection process is inherently discriminatory, as the Court has eloquently emphasized on several occasions. “It’s a dirty business, dividing us by race,” Chief Justice Roberts said in a 2006 decision. and makes race important to the provision of burdens or benefits, debases us all.”

Although the use of racial factors may be well-intentioned, in almost all cases it has led to abuse. According to Students for Fair Admissions (SFA), Harvard and UNC have openly discriminated against Asian Americans and other groups in their use of race-related factors in the admissions process. A review of the summary filed by the SFA presents shocking evidence of blatant discrimination that persisted under the radar screen. That said, “Harvard’s mistreatment of Asian-American applicants is particularly egregious: its admissions process punishes them for supposedly not having as much leadership, confidence, likability, or likability as white applicants.”

The use of such racial stereotypes in any selection process is wrong and repugnant on every level. Crucially, it is based on the use of subjective versus objective qualifications, such as prior academic performance, in determining eligibility for admission. The damage done is even greater when the use of such disgusting stereotypes is transferred to reception staff, who often harbor their own outdated prejudices. The SFA highlighted historical evidence of the devastating use of racial criteria by Harvard, which in the early 1920s became concerned that too many Jewish students were admitted to the university based on their high test scores. Harvard’s response was that it “preferred to state openly” that it “excludes all Jews above a certain percentage”.

I may be a bit sensitive about this question given my own Jewish heritage and my grandfather Max Moster’s stories of his difficulty finding a good hotel in Miami Beach in 1930. The signs on the door read, “No Jews or Dogs”.

So there you have it. Using racial criteria and creating false categorizations based on ethnicity is inherently wrong and discriminatory. I hope the Supreme Court bans the continued use of these race-related factors in the college admissions process.

Rosen 1 –

In Grutter v. University of Michigan (2003), the Supreme Court held that achieving a diverse student body in higher education is a compelling governmental interest and that colleges may consider race in individualized admissions decisions to achieve diversity, but may not use mechanical measures (such as are quotas and dust) in favor of certain minorities. The court also ruled that any racial classification, even one that disadvantages whites, is subject to strict scrutiny. In two cases currently before the court—one against Harvard and the other against the University of North Carolina (“UNC”)—the court may overrule Grutter and prohibit colleges and universities from considering race as a factor in admissions. That would be a mistake.

First, diversity is key. To paraphrase a Harvard study cited by the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit: “In order to fulfill our civic and other responsibilities, [college] graduates can be blind neither to the challenges facing our increasingly pluralistic country nor to the unresolved racial divisions that stubbornly persist despite decades of significant efforts to resolve them…. [S]The diversity of the student body encourages students to explore ways of processing a world that is different from their own and to learn to negotiate pluralism through discussion with others in the class.’

Second, in an early decision on the Equal Protection Clause, the Supreme Court stated that the purpose of the amendment was to remedy the “great injustice and distress” of discrimination against newly freed slaves. Later decisions found that the amendment reached the “badges and incidents” of slavery that shamefully persisted. For example, many black students are deprived of access to quality elementary and secondary school resources. Thus, they begin the college application process at a competitive disadvantage, which colleges can take into account when making admissions decisions.

Third, consideration of race is very narrow—one factor among all aspects of a candidate’s background. It cannot be decisive. At UNC, “race rarely plays a significant role — it explains only 1.2% of admissions decisions.” But

even with affirmative action, black students make up only 8% of UNC’s undergraduate student population, while blacks make up 22% of the state’s population. In Harvard’s case, the district court, after a 15-day trial, found no evidence that the university intentionally discriminated against the plaintiffs.

Fourth, the Supreme Court has not required affirmative action in higher education, and colleges are not required to consider race in admissions. California and Michigan residents have actually approved state constitutional amendments that prohibit such affirmative action.

Sample 2 –

I find Rick’s logic curious and contradictory. I certainly understand the goal of achieving a pluralistic society and follow the same aspirations. However, the use of discriminatory criteria that restricts college admissions based on racial stereotypes is reminiscent of apartheid, not pluralism.

The evidence presented by the SFA establishes empirical evidence that Asian Americans were artificially weeded out of the admissions pool at Harvard and UNC to make room for other students who maintained lower test scores. I can’t imagine what positive civic value such direct discrimination serves, and I welcome Rick’s response.

Studies by other groups support the conclusion that discrimination is widespread—Asian-Americans have lower acceptance rates, even though test scores are 140 points higher than Caucasian students, 270 points higher than Hispanic students, and 450 points higher than African-American students (Espenshade – 2009). ; The percentage of Asian American admissions to Harvard peaked at 20% in 1993 and then artificially declined by 3-5% despite the fact that this population doubled (Unz – 2012).

Daniel Golden, in his book The Prices of Admission, How America’s Ruling Class Buys its Way into Elite Colleges – and Who Gets Left Outside, compares the treatment of Asian Americans to Harvard’s discriminatory practices against Jewish students in the 1930s, which we have already discussed . . The admissions staff at these elite universities had the worst racial stereotypes, which greatly reduced the acceptance rate of Jewish students regardless of stellar ability. Sound familiar?

Judge Thomas is right when he assesses that the use of racial criteria “demeans us all”. It assumes that there are differences in intelligence based on racial stereotypes that are false and dangerous. Regardless of differences in education and socio-economic status, students with the greatest motivation will rise to the top. That’s everyone—blacks, whites, Native Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans.

Let’s celebrate pluralism by treating all students equally.

Rosen 2 –

Charles would erase race from college applications. But race defines the personal stories of many prospective students. The nation is barely a generation removed from “Jim Crow,” and its effects are still profound. As stated in the College Board’s amicus brief: “[E]xexcluding race and ethnicity as the only parts of a student’s life that cannot be considered in a holistic examination would deprive students of any race for whom race has had a significant impact on their lives from conveying the story of who they are and how they see and experience the world.” The court only wrote: “Just as growing up in a particular region or particular professional experiences can influence an individual’s views, so too does being a racial minority in a society like ours, in which race unfortunately still relevant.”

Charles argues that plaintiffs “establish ․[ed] empirical evidence that Asian Americans were artificially weeded out of the admissions pool at Harvard and UNC to make room for other students with lower test scores.” In fact, they proved no such thing. After a 15-day trial, a Massachusetts district court found that the evidence did not show that Harvard intentionally discriminated against the plaintiffs, a decision that was upheld by an appeals court.

The plaintiffs’ case is based in part on Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits racial discrimination in educational programs receiving federal funds and is co-extensive with the Equal Protection Clause. (Harvard, as a non-state actor, is not covered by this clause.) Congress could—at any time—amend Title VI to prohibit consideration of race in admissions, but it has not done so. It is clear that Congress does not yet believe that Grutter was wrongly decided.

Finally, I share Charles’ discomfort with affirmative action in these cases because Asian Americans have been subjected to both de facto and de jure discrimination since the 19th century. Also, like Charles’ grandparents, I am Jewish and have been the subject of blatant discrimination. Still, I agree with the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization that “found that a diverse educational environment challenges all students to explore new ideas, perspectives, and experiences they might not otherwise explore, to see issues from other perspectives, to rethink one’s own assumptions and prejudices and to achieve the kind of understanding that comes only from testing one’s own hypotheses against those of people with different or different beliefs.”


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