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Brian Mark Weber / June 22, 2018

Harvard Turns ‘Diversity’ on Its Head

The Ivy League bastion is routinely rejecting Asian-Americans based not on grades but race.

Soon the hot, lazy days of summer will give way to fall, with tens of thousands of students heading off to the ivy-clad campuses of some of America’s most prestigious universities.

Those who weren’t able to gain admission to these top-tier schools probably concluded that they simply aren’t smart enough or talented enough to compete with the very best. Little did they know, however, that some universities like Harvard were routinely rejecting applicants based not on their grade-point-averages or leadership potential but their race.

Wait a minute. Didn’t the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit universities receiving federal funds from engaging in racial discrimination? Yes, but when it comes to universities obsessed with “diversity,” there are many ways to work around the law of the land. And that’s exactly what they’ve done. Throw in some ambiguous Supreme Court decisions that gave colleges and universities the ability to use race as a determining factor in admitting students, and it’s no wonder these schools have found ways to engage in blatant abuses of the very practices they claim to detest.

The editors at National Review write, “Evidence shows the discrimination happens along two lines. First, Harvard evaluates applicants according to a ‘holistic’ process that considers, in addition to their academic, extracurricular, and athletic achievements, ‘personal’ qualities: whether they have demonstrated ‘humor, sensitivity, grit, leadership.’”

These “holistic” approaches to evaluating applicants seem innocent on the surface, but there’s more.

National Review adds, “Asian Americans consistently rank below others on the personality metric, despite the fact that admissions officials never meet most applicants. The internal review showed that Asian Americans were the only demographic group to suffer negative effects from the subjective portion of the evaluation. Second, even after the subjective criteria are taken into account, the university tips the scales further by adjusting for ‘demographics.’ The specifics of this adjustment have been redacted by the university, but the review found that the share of admitted Asian students fell from 26 percent to 18 percent after it was made.”

For Asian-Americans expecting a fair shot at getting into an Ivy League school, this is truly disturbing. But what’s more troubling is that Harvard is not considering race or ethnicity in order to give education opportunities to a minority group, but instead to outright keep such a group from getting into the classroom at all.

But this isn’t the first time Harvard has used demographics to discriminate against applicants. As University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds reminds us, “This is what Ivy League schools did to Jewish applicants for much of the 20th century, because Jewish applicants were seen as boring grinds who studied too hard, and whose parents weren’t rich enough or connected enough to contribute to the schools’ flourishing.”

One group has had enough: Students for Fair Admissions is suing Harvard for racial discrimination.

Rich Lowry writes that the analysis of Peter Arcidiacono, representing the plaintiffs, shows that “an Asian-American applicant who is a male, is not economically disadvantaged and has, based on his other characteristics, a 25 percent chance of getting in would see his odds markedly increase if he belonged to another group. His chances of admission would be 36 percent if he were white; 77 percent if he were Hispanic; and 95 percent if he were black.”

The strike against the Asian-American applicants is that the Harvard admissions board thinks they have unappealing personalities despite the fact that Asian-American students are largely active in student clubs and organizations, perform as well or better than their counterparts in classes, and serve in positions of leadership.

Just imagine the uproar that would ensue if, say, blacks were targeted in the same manner. You got it: Heads would roll, and the result would be a complete revamping of the Harvard admissions system and sensitivity training for all employees.

That one of America’s most prestigious universities continues to discriminate against Asian-Americans as it did Jews in the 1920s should alarm anyone who believes in opening the doors of opportunity for those who’ve earned it.

How ironic it is that “progressive” academics now discriminate against certain minority applicants based on their race. Harvard and other Ivy-league schools should admit students on merit alone and bring an end to this abhorrent practice of discrimination.

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