Today’s historic election of President-elect Joseph R. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris marks a victory for colleges and universities across this land. It marks a victory for the building blocks of the holistic college admissions process — and a victory for so many students and parents navigating its churning waters. Today, we thought we’d highlight what President-elect Biden’s election means within the context of highly selective college admissions. Below are ten groups of people or organizations that should be celebrating today as we usher in a new presidential administration in January.
Our Top 10 List of Today’s Celebrants in the Realm of College Admissions
1. It’s a victory for backers of Affirmative Action, or the practice of considering race in admissions. Systemic racism is sadly alive and well in America and until it is rooted out, our nation must have systems in place to work towards leveling the playing field. Affirmative Action is one such way. Of course, Affirmative Action failed on the ballot in California this cycle. And UNC is currently defending its consideration of race in admissions decision-making before a U.S. District Court. So President-elect Biden’s administration will have their work cut out for them. But colleges and universities that value diversity will soon have an administration on their side, an administration that isn’t filing amicus briefs in support of groups that sue the likes of Harvard over their consideration of race in admissions. And to those vocal commenters to our college admissions blog who believe white males are at a serious disadvantage in the admissions process, we respectfully have a difference of opinion.
2. It’s a victory for Harvard, Yale, and all of our nation’s universities. The Department of Justice is currently suing Yale for allegedly discriminating against Asian American and white applicants. As mentioned, the DOJ previously filed an amicus brief in support of a group, Students for Fair Admissions, which lost in a court battle against Harvard in which the group alleged Harvard discriminates against Asian American applicants to the university.
3. It’s a victory for Asian Americans. Make no mistake: Asian Americans face unjust discrimination in highly selective college admissions. Admissions officers don’t acknowledge it. But implicit bias is real and it impacts their decision-making. That being said, the current administration didn’t care to end Asian American discrimination. Rather, the current administration was using Asian Americans as pawns in an effort to end the practice of Affirmative Action. But Affirmative Action is not any more to blame for the discrimination that Asian Americans face in the admissions process than is legacy admission or the admission of recruited athletes.
4. It’s a victory for South Asian Americans — Indian Americans. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be the first South Asian American, the first Indian American, to be on a winning presidential ticket. For every parent who immigrated from India and whose child will be applying to universities here in America, Vice President-elect Harris personifies the American Dream realized. Kamala Harris is the proud daughter of the late great cancer researcher Shyamala Gopalan. Heck, citizens of Vice President-elect’s ancestral village of Thulasendrapuram in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu are celebrating her historic victory. We’re celebrating with them.
5. It’s a victory for African Americans and, especially, African American women who have never before been represented on a winning presidential ticket. It’s also a victory for HBCUs as Harris is a proud graduate of Howard University. African American women are at the heart of our American democracy and their votes, in many ways, helped decide this election. If Affirmative Action is designed to help create the change we wish to see, then the election of Vice President-elect Harris is the change we see.
6. It’s a victory for LGBTQIA college applicants and college students across this nation, and an especially momentous victory for the T in the beautiful rainbow: transgender college applicants and students. While gay marriage passed under President Obama, some may remember that it was President-elect Biden’s slip of the tongue on a news program that got the Obama administration to move swifter towards embracing marriage for all. The current administration has tried to revoke rights for LGBTQIA citizens across America throughout these past four years and especially the rights of our transgender fellow citizens. Their affronts to the LGBTQIA community will not be forgotten.
7. It’s a victory for international students. This summer, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that if an international student’s university switched to online-only courses in the fall, the international student would either need to transfer to a school that offers in-person instruction or return to their homeland. Harvard and MIT quickly sued ICE and the Department of Homeland Security. We stood with Harvard and MIT. The federal government would soon rescind its proposed policy, but the fear the administration left in the hearts and minds of international students and their parents wouldn’t go away overnight. It endures today.
8. It’s a victory for the National Association for College Admission Counseling, an organization to which we are a member. The DOJ under the current administration probed NACAC for potentially restraining trade under its then “Statement of Principles of Good Practice.” Essentially, NACAC was accused of restricting the ability of colleges to lure students to attend — thus restraining their trade which would be a violation of law.
9. It’s a victory for The College Board, the maker of the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, and AP exams, and ACT, Inc., the maker of the ACT. The longer this pandemic lasts, the more colleges and universities are going to learn to live with students not submitting test scores. As the Biden administration will rely on science to end this pandemic, our bet is this pandemic will end sooner than if we relied on, say, hocus pocus.
10. It’s a victory for our nation’s public high schools. So long, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos who has made it her mission to dismantle public education in America through the privatization of public schools with vouchers. She also threatened to cut off funds to public schools that didn’t fully reopen this fall during the pandemic. Ding dong.
Oh, and we — well known to be defenders of capitalism who view socialism as distinctly un-American — are celebrating, too…but our readers already knew that! We have never been prouder of our country. Patriotism is literally on the face of every American citizen wearing a mask during these most difficult and uncertain times. And it will be up to President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris to help us all — in red states and blue states from the cities to the mountains and prairies across this great nation — to come together and heal.
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