As predicted, Princeton University has been cleared by the United States Department of Education of allegations that the school discriminates against Asian and Asian American applicants. As you may recall, discrimination against Asian and Asian American students, a topic that is a hot-button issue these days, was particularly in the news this past spring. Ivy Coach was featured extensively in the press, offering opinions on the practice that were featured everywhere from “The Boston Globe” to “BuzzFeed” and many publications in between. It is our sincere opinion, one we know to be true, that Asians and Asian Americans do indeed face discrimination in highly selective college admissions — not just at Princeton but at every highly selective college. But filing legal complaints against the practice is likely not the answer, if history is any precedent.
As reported by “NBC News” in a piece by Chris Fuchs entitled “Princeton Did Not Discriminate Against Asian Applicants, Feds Say,” “In a letter to Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights noted that while the New Jersey Ivy League school sometimes uses race and national origin in its admissions decisions, it does so lawfully to promote diversity within its student body. The letter also said that a compliance review of the school, begun in 2008, revealed that Princeton University considers a wide range of factors — such as grades and test scores, as well as experiences and background — before making an offer of admission. Although the review found that in some cases admissions officers or alumni interviewers did record notes about Asian applicants that evoke Asian stereotypes, using words like ‘shy’ or ‘quiet’ as descriptors, they also did this with candidates who were not Asian, according to the letter. ‘OCR’s review found that the university’s use of race and national origin in admissions is consistent with the strict scrutiny standards established by the Supreme Court,’ the letter said.”
Of course Asians and Asian Americans face discrimination. Of course an Asian applicant is judged against other Asian applicants to a university (we help our Asian and Asian American students combat this practice). Of course they will have to have higher SAT or ACT test scores than will their non-Asian counterparts. It’s a sad reality, one we hope changes in short order. We’re not sure how to change this reality. We suspect the courts are not the answer. So we’re curious to hear from our readers with their suggestions on how this community can enact genuine change not for students on an individual basis but for the entire community at large. So be sure to post a Comment below with your thoughts.
And while you’re here, check out an editorial by Ivy Coach’s Founder, Bev Taylor, for “The Huffington Post” on why Asian Americans and Asians deserve better.