Why did the United States Department of Justice, under the leadership of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, choose to mount an investigation into the practice of Affirmative Action at Harvard University? We’ve heard this question asked several times over the last few weeks. Some folks are wondering: Why not Yale, Stanford, Brown, Cornell, or, heck, Syracuse University? After all, each and every one of these colleges uses Affirmative Action in their admissions practices. Harvard isn’t alone. Why should Harvard be singled out? The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based university is presumably no more or no less guilty than any other highly selective or selective university in America. The answer, of course, is a simple one. Harvard University is the preeminent university in America.
Yes, The DOJ is Targeting Harvard Because It’s Harvard
In a piece in “The New York Times” entitled “What Colleges Want in an Applicant (Everything)” by Eric Hoover, there’s a great quote from the always candid Jon Boeckenstedt, the associate vice president for enrollment management and marketing at DePaul University. Boeckenstedt cracks Ivy Coach’s all-time top ten list of most candid deans (or vice presidents in his case) of admission (or enrollment in his case). Of course, the admissions leader topping this chart of ours for over a decade is the University of Pennsylvania’s Eric Furda. He is, in our view, the San Antonio Spurs of highly selective college admissions. Consistent. And like the inimitable Spurs coach Greg Popovich, he speaks his mind and tells it like it is even when doing so isn’t always popular. Boeckenstedt does much the same. In this piece in “The New York Times,” Hoover writes, “[Boeckenstedt] says that it is the high-profile colleges that have the power to redefine the admissions process. ‘Unless and until something changes at the top, nothing else is going to change,’ he said. ‘That’s because, at a lot of colleges, people will go to their graves trying to imitate the Ivy League.'” So true, Jon Boeckenstedt. So true.
An Amicus Brief for Harvard University
You bet change starts at the top. You bet less prestigious colleges emulate more prestigious colleges. You don’t challenge corruption in financial services by challenging a trader in St. George, Utah. You challenge corruption in financial services by challenging the investment banks of Wall Street. Our United States Department of Justice is trying to make a statement. They’re aiming their fire at the head, not the toe. It should be no surprise that Harvard finds itself defending the practice of Affirmative Action not only for Harvard but for every college in the land. Consider this our version of filing an amicus brief for Harvard. While we absolutely opposite discrimination against Asian American applicants (and highly selective colleges do discriminate against Asian American applicants), attacking the practice of Affirmative Action won’t rectify this injustice — it’ll only create and foster further injustices in our nation. So, Harvard, we’ve got your back as you defend Affirmative Action. As every other university in America should too. Thank you, Harvard.
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