Powerline had a post up yesterday discussing Harvard's latest attempts to justify their racist admission policies. If you haven't kept up, Harvard is alone among the elite universities in that they made the mistake of keeping their admissions records instead of incinerating them to keep others from finding out how they decided who gets into the school.
A group of Asian parents sued Harvard because they were certain their kids were being cheated and they were right. An Asian needs to score 350 points higher on their SATs than a black kid. In addition to using grades, extracurricular activities and test scores, Harvard employs a personality scoring system where they rate candidates for their leadership, courage and possibly hygienic qualities. According to these scores, Harvard thinks Asians are smelly, ambitionless cowards. Because of that, Asian overall scores are dragged down to where the 350-point advantage in the SATs is required to get in to the school.
The case is being heard by the Supreme Court. Depending on whether John Roberts' spine is functioning that day and Brett Kavanaugh's hangover has subsided, Harvard could be in deep kimchi. Worried, Harvard's president, Lawrence Bacow, had this to say after changing into some dry pants:
Harvard celebrates and nurtures individuality as intensely as this nation. Those who challenge our admissions policies would ask us to rely upon a process far more mechanistic, a process far more reliant on simple assessments of objective criteria. Each of us is, however, more than our numbers, more than our grades, more than our rankings or scores. Ask yourself, how much have you learned from other people at this University? How much have you grown from conversations across difference? Would these conversations have been as rich if you had shared the same interests, the same life experiences, and—yes—the same racial or ethnic background as your fellow community members? This is why applications of any kind routinely go beyond mere numbers to include interviews, samples of work product, recommendations, and references. Narrowly drawn measures of academic distinction are not the only indicators of individual promise.
Wow. So blacks are basically conversation pieces? Note that nothing in that paragraph discusses the primary reason admission criteria exist in the first place - to winnow out students who are doomed to failure before they get in and are crushed.
We know that kids who are admitted to elite schools with scores well below their peers typically flunk out or change their majors into easy, but useless ones, those blacks are being fed into an educational meat grinder just so the other students can talk to them from time to time.
It might be less expensive and less damaging to simply set up "talk to marginalized people" booths around the campus and hire properly diverse people to man, err, woman, err xer them. Then you could admit only qualified students, you wouldn't have to watch whole groups wash out, the unqualified wouldn't leave with massive student loan debts and the students would still get all of the benefits of diversity, such as they are.
|It would look kind of like this.|
Nah. What's the fun in that? Let's admit kids with mediocre test scores and have them compete with the ultra-smart set. What fun it will be for them to join study groups where everyone else understands the material quickly and easily while they struggle*!
As a bonus, those blacks who aced the SATs will always have the stigma of their peers wondering if they were beneficiaries of Harvard's anti-Asian racism. Yay.
* - This was me in grad school. I was taking theoretical math classes. Real Analysis came pretty easily, but Abstract Algebra might as well have been taught in Russian. My classmates, much better than I was, understood the stuff. I hated studying with them because it kept reinforcing my inadequacies.