College Presidents Overwhelmingly Support Race-Conscious Admissions
A recent survey conducted by the publication “Inside Higher Ed” conducted by Gallup found that 62% of college presidents across America strongly agree or agree that race should be a factor in the college admissions process. 19% of college presidents who partook in the survey strongly disagree or disagree that race should be a factor. Of all respondents, approximately 80% believe that the general public doesn’t understand the holistic college admissions process — meaning the role that factors such as race play in the process.
The Future of Race-Conscious Admissions Remains in Limbo
The case brought by Students for Fair Admissions against Harvard University — a case our readers are very familiar with — puts the future of the consideration of race as a factor in college admissions in limbo. And it seems college presidents believe this case could mark an inflection point. As reports Neetu Chandak for “The Daily Caller” in a piece entitled “Majority of College Presidents Support Race-Based Admissions,” “The case went to trial in October 2018 and highlighted the issue of Asian-American applicants receiving lower ‘personality scores.’ ‘Presidents do not appear to be very confident that Harvard will prevail, as 37 percent strongly agree or agree they are confident in Harvard’s defense of itself and the principles of affirmative action,’ the survey said. ‘Twenty-seven percent strongly disagree or disagree.’ Forty-two percent of college presidents strongly agree or agree that they are concerned about possible discrimination against Asian-American applicants. More than 50 percent believed it was okay for private schools to consider legacy students in the admissions process, however.”
SFFA and Harvard recently faced off in a post-trial hearing. And while as according to the results of this survey college presidents may not be too confident that Harvard will prevail (we’re not particularly confident that Harvard will prevail either), the decision in the high profile case remains in the hands of Judge Allison D. Burroughs. So, until then, the future of race-conscious admissions will remain in limbo.
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‘80% believe that the general public doesn’t understand the holistic college admissions process..’. Of course we don’t and the reason is clear. Colleges have kept it a mystery. We hear directly from the admission offices that there’s ‘no magic formula’ to gain admission. Well, how can they possibly expect support from the public on the alchemy of the ‘holistic process’?
If Harvard and other top schools are going to be positioned to produce world leaders they can’t have a campus comprised of 100% Asians or 100% whites or 100% blacks, irrespective of qualification. I think most people get that. What is frustrating for applicants is having no idea how these other soft attributes are used. How much is race worth in this process? How much is musical talent worth? first gen.? gender? writing skills? There’s no straight answer. It’s potentially different with every student.
At the elite level, universities don’t have to worry about who’s qualified. They can pick who they want from among many thousands of qualified applicants. But even if that weren’t true, this is not a meritocracy, nor has it ever been. (If you believe it is, you may also believe in objective journalism and the Tooth Fairy.) Universities love perpetuating that idea, but it’s hogwash. They do not have an obligation to admit the most academically qualified. It’s not even clear how the ‘most academically qualified’ could be determined! This is ultimately why I think the Asian group suing Harvard will fail. How can Students for Fair Admissions claim discrimination in such a process especially when Asians represent 5.6% of the US population and 22%+ of the Harvard undergraduates. They are over-represented on campus nearly 4-fold.
Is there a better way? I haven’t figured it out yet but it’s not a lottery for the academically qualified. That’s just stupid. How do you keep out the potential criminals, a-holes and other bad elements? Campuses also need to support the school paper, orchestra, athletic teams, etc. How could a lottery adequately do that? I think we’ll be stuck with this crappy, mysterious process for now.