On Wednesday, The New York Sun posted an article about a case the Supreme Court has recently decided to hear. The case involves Harvard University and its discrimination against Asian students based on their race.
The article reports:
The future of how America’s oldest university chooses its students will be decided not in faculty lounges in Cambridge, but in judicial chambers in Washington, D.C. As the Sun has reported, the high court looks set to decide the future of college and university admissions after elevating cases against Harvard and the University of North Carolina.
Mr. Bacow (Lawrence Bacow, President of Harvard University) struck a defiant note in response to the dramatic legal development, maintaining: “Our admissions process, in which race is considered as one factor among many, makes us stronger.” He promised to “defend with vigor” that approach against “narrowly drawn measures of academic distinction.”
Harvard’s admissions process is one of the nation’s most selective. Last spring, it extended offers to just more than 3 percent of applicants, making it a bellwether for how thick and thin envelopes (or their email equivalents) are sent out nationwide.
Mr. Bacow wrote that Harvard is “more than our numbers, more than our grades, more than our rankings or scores.” The question is whether just such a “holistic” approach runs afoul of federal anti-discrimination laws and the promises of the Constitution.
The article concludes:
To argue this, Students for Fair Admissions, the group mounting the legal challenges, points to Harvard admissions practices that penalized Asian-American students by giving them low marks on such metrics as “likability,” “courage,” and “self-confidence.”
While Mr. Bacow argues that Harvard’s admissions process reflects the reality that “race matters in the United States,” Students for Fair Admissions maintains: “The cornerstone of our nation’s civil rights laws is the principle that an individual’s race should not be used to help or harm them in their life’s endeavors.”
The University of North Carolina, which shares a Supreme Court docket with Harvard, fired back that the “true agenda” for Students for Fair Admissions is to “deny opportunity to qualified students.”
While both North Carolina and Harvard are undaunted, all eyes will now be on affirmative action’s suddenly very uncertain future.
As Martin Luther King, Jr., once stated, “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” If you truly want the students you admit to your college to graduate, you should admit them according to their academic record and their achievements–not on the basis of their race. Diversity is a nice idea, but how many of the students that colleges accept in the name of diversity have the academic skills to graduate in four years?