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Asian Americans Protest Harvard Bias

A coalition of Asian American organizations has filed a complaint against Harvard for discriminating against Asian Americans in its admissions process. The administration there could be in for a rough time. As Ron Unz pointed out several years ago in an article entitled: The Myth of American Meritocracy, How corrupt are Ivy League admissions?, statistics would indicate that all the Ivies established a quota for Asians around 2001-2003:

Asian Enrollment.jpg

Charles Murray noted the following in 2012 when Unz’s article was published:

Unz’s findings have received astonishingly little coverage. “Astonishingly,” because Unz has documented what looks very much like a tacitly common policy on the part of the Ivies to cap Asian admissions at about 16% of undergraduates, give or take a few percentage points, no matter what the quality of Asian applicants might be. That’s a strong statement, but consider the data that Unz has assembled. [Emphasis added]

Of more than passing interest is the fact that over the last four years Asian American enrollments at the College have consistently been 16%. Surely just a coincidence:

Asian Enrollment Comp.jpg

A piece in the WSJ on May 15 cited the following figures from the complaint:

The complaint, filed by a coalition of 64 organizations, says the university has set quotas to keep the numbers of Asian-American students significantly lower than the quality of their applications merits. It cites third-party academic research on the SAT exam showing that Asian-Americans have to score on average about 140 points higher than white students, 270 points higher than Hispanic students and 450 points higher than African-American students to equal their chances of gaining admission to Harvard.

The Washington Post reports:

This is the second complaint against Harvard admissions practices on behalf of Asian Americans in a month. A legal defense group called Project on Fair Representation filed a lawsuit against Harvard about a month ago on behalf of a group called Students for Fair Admissions. It accuses Harvard of “employing racially and ethnically discriminatory policies” in its admissions practices.

With the Supreme Court once again reviewing the constitutionality of diversity/affirmative action policies, and a national understanding on the rise that academic mismatch costs disadvantaged minorities more than it helps them, one has to wonder how long racial preference policies can endure in the academy.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Although we have a new focus on race on admissions practices in the Ivy’s, this 2004 Princeton study provides a more holistic view: Admission Preferences for Minority
Students, Athletes, and Legacies at Elite Universities

While it’s a bit dated, it indicates that athletics preferences became the most influential advantage an applicant can have provided a student met the minimum academic requirements. According to this study, a sports recruit gets the equivalent of 200 SAT points which is more than the 140 point gap between Asian and White students cited in the lawsuit. Between 1980 and 1997, athletic preferences became more advantageous than being Black, Hispanic, or a legacy (see Figure 1, page 1443).

What this means is that the academically, rather than athletically inclined applicant has to really shine. Arguably, race-based quotas at least have a broader redeeming goal to redress societal biases. I’m not sure how a better football team does the same.


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