(From the New York Observer)
By Steve Cohen
A coalition of 64 Asian-American groups has filed a complaint against Harvard for discriminating against Asian-American applicants. They’re right to assume there is a quota system at work. But they’re wrong that it is targeting Asian-Americans. In fact, it is discriminating in favor of Blacks and Hispanics.
The complaint, filed with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, alleges that for Asian-American students to gain admission, they have to have SAT scores 140 points higher than white students, 270 points higher than Hispanic students, and 450 points higher than African-American students.
The Coalition’s complaint is based on a false assumption: that admissions decisions at elite colleges are based on smarts, as represented by high SAT scores and grades. Yes, those metrics count a lot. But they come into play only after an applicant’s “tag”—his or her target group—is assigned. That’s because top schools are not looking just for the smartest kids, or for well-rounded kids; they’re looking to put together the well-rounded class. Kids who will fill key niches on campus.
Admissions deans are charged with putting together a freshman class that reflects the desires of important constituencies: the faculty, alumni, and even students. The most powerful constituency is the faculty. Teachers are numerous, long-term, vocal, and largely protected by tenure. As a result, and not surprisingly, the largest niche to be filled is academic. Read more
Categories: AT Opinion