Are white students being discriminated against in college admissions? Apparently, White House thinks so.

President Donald Trump, with his daughter Ivanka Tuesday, wants the Justice Department to go after universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants.
(Doug Mills/The New York Times)

Having just spent a year visiting colleges and now having attended new student orientations at Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia, I wonder about the reported concerns of the Trump administration that white students are being shut out by affirmative action policies.

Georgia’s public institutions don’t consider race as an admissions factor. (The state’s public colleges haven’t used affirmative action in admissions since the University of Georgia’s admissions policy was ruled unconstitutional in 2001 by a federal appeals court.) While the state seeks to draw more minority students to its public campuses  and has seen some improvement, the most competitive campuses in Georgia do not reflect the racial makeup of the k-12 student population.

There was no shortage of white students at Georgia’s premier research universities and the half-dozen or so elite universities we toured. But don’t take my word. According to state data, about 70 percent of UGA’s students are white, 10 percent are Asian and 8 percent are African-American. Half of Georgia Tech’s freshmen last year were white; 25 percent Asian; 8 percent Hispanic and 6.5 percent black.

Yet, according to The New York Times:

The Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department’s civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a document obtained by The New York Times.

The document, an internal announcement to the civil rights division, seeks current lawyers interested in working for a new project on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”…Supporters and critics of the project said it was clearly targeting admissions programs that can give members of generally disadvantaged groups, like black and Latino students, an edge over other applicants with comparable or higher test scores.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the educational benefits that flow from having a diverse student body can justify using race as one factor among many in a “holistic” evaluation, while rejecting blunt racial quotas or race-based point systems. But what that permits in actual practice by universities — public ones as well as private ones that receive federal funding — is often murky.

Many civil rights advocates are reacting this morning to the Times report. “I am deeply disheartened that the Trump administration appears to be taking a hard line against efforts to increase campus diversity rather than focusing on addressing the persistent opportunity gaps facing students of color and low-income students,” said former Obama White House U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, now president of Education Trust.

What’s puzzling about this news is it comes at a time when colleges are beginning to consider socioeconomic diversity, recognizing the under enrollment of poor kids across all race on their campuses.

Colleges already weigh many factors beyond academics, including athletic skill, geography and status. Everyone seems to accept that colleges regularly admit football, gymnastics and soccer players with lower test scores and grade point averages than required. And they bend their standards to admit the children of celebrities, state senators and other influential people.

While at the Education Writers Association conference in June, I attended a panel about how legislators wield influence in getting unqualified applicants admitted to law school in Texas and how the kids and grandkids of donors earn a closer look in Virginia.

I saw the kid-glove treatment of donors firsthand on a college visit to a prestigious northeastern university where an 11th grader on our tour told me she wanted to study astrology and theater. We were at a prominent STEM campus so I expressed surprise that she’d consider such a school for those disciplines. She explained her grandfather had attended and remained a major supporter. In fact, she and her grandfather had already met with the president of the university that morning and were having lunch with another official at lunch.

The news about the White House is alarming civil rights activists and higher ed researchers. Inside Higher Ed reports this morning:

Nancy Cantor, chancellor of Rutgers University at Newark and co-editor of Our Compelling Interests: The Value of Diversity for Democracy and a Prosperous Society (Princeton University Press), said, “We need to keep our focus on cultivating the diverse talent in our country — we can’t be a prosperous democracy and leave the growing talent pool on the sidelines. Let’s not get distracted from our social responsibility by efforts to pit groups — we all need opportunity and we all depend on each other’s talent.”

And Stella M. Flores, an associate professor of higher education at New York University who has written extensively about inequality in American education, said that the Justice Department should be looking elsewhere.

“We know two key findings from educational research over the last 10 years in regard to this issue: 1) an overreliance on test scores as the key predictor of college success is a tenuous and often ineffective strategy; and 2) there are positive educational benefits of diversity to all students that extend beyond the classroom,” she said. “As the nation continues to diversify at unprecedented levels and becomes more globally connected and interdependent, keeping the principle of the positive educational benefits of a diverse student body/college campus is one of the most certain strategies for ensuring the nation stays at the top of their social and economic prosperity levels. It would be more helpful to put more civil rights emphasis in examining issues of inequality in the nation’s K-12 public system, which have long-term effects on college success outcomes. This would increase the opportunity levels of all students — from the poorest of white students in addition to other underrepresented minority students.”

Your thoughts? Is this a real problem or political theater?

Reader Comments 0

388 comments
bicami
bicami

Do you have a pay~pal ? because if you do you can make an extra 600 a week in your pay only working on the internet 5 hours every day.. see this site★═════════════★☆★www.decksky.com  


CarlosSantiago
CarlosSantiago

In a recent NY Times editorial:

"Data from the Association of American Medical Colleges indicate that race is a substantial factor in medical school admissions, not one of many.
For example, from 2013 to 2016, medical schools in the United States accepted 94 percent of blacks, 83 percent of Hispanics, 63 percent of whites and 58 percent of Asians with top MCAT scores of 30 to 32 and grade-point averages of 3.6 to 3.8."

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Apparently, this entire story is another example of "fake news" by the NYT.

"It's no secret that over the last few months fake news has reached a fever pitch in the DC swamp. One of the more blatant recent examples came this week when a New York Times reporter jumped on a leaked Justice Department hiring call for staff to conduct "investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions." To the Times writer, this meant that the "Trump administration is preparing to redirect resources of the Justice Department's civil rights division toward investigating and suing universities over affirmative action admissions policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants." The Washington Post quickly followed suit with the same assumption that this would benefit white students, and another piece of fake news was hot off the press.

In reality, the Justice Department mentioned no race in the call. But to maintain the illusion that the Trump administration caters to its "alt-right" racist supporters, these reporters just knew in their bones that the intent of the attorney general — that child of the pre-civil rights South, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III — was to return us to the days of Jim Crow. Those who make their living in the East Coast echo chamber not only took the bait but swallowed hook, line and sinker.

Thus, the next afternoon the Department had to come out with a clarification: "The posting sought volunteers to investigate one administrative complaint filed by a coalition of 64 Asian-American associations in May 2015 that the prior administration left unresolved. The complaint alleges racial discrimination against Asian-Americans in a university's admissions policy and practices."

So the "prior administration," which would be the one run by the supposedly progressive and colorblind Barack Obama, allowed a case of alleged discrimination against a minority group to lie dormant for over a year and a half without resolution."

bu22
bu22

@Lee_CPA2 https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-is-harvard-hiding-1501888626  "...Also notable is research on how much more competitive Asian-Americans must be to win entry into Harvard or other hallowed progressive halls. All else being equal, Asian-American must score 140 points higher on the SAT than a white counterpart, 270 points higher than a Hispanic student, and 450 points higher than a black applicant, according to 2009 research from Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade and co-author Alexandria Walton Radford....The Justice Department has said its leaked document was merely seeking lawyers to consider the merits of the Asian-American complaint, and on all the available evidence the admissions books at Harvard and elsewhere are ripe for a closer look. If colleges are enforcing quotas on qualified applicants merely because of their ethnicity, the term for that is one familiar to progressive academics: institutional racism.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

If Trump really wanted to make an impact, he should abolish the affirmative action requirements in government contracting which give preference to Minority Business Enterprises and Women Business Enterprises - many of which are shell companies set up to obtain government contract.  

The cost to taxpayers is BILLIONS of dollars every year.

Brandon Martin
Brandon Martin

Yea, the clowns in the White House probably think the sky is green. \U0001f644

class80olddog
class80olddog

If they said the sky is blue, would you claim they are lying?

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Starik @class80olddog  Generally, I accept things as true if they sound reasonable unless I have reason to suspect otherwise.  "The biggest liar in the world can say the sun is shining and that doesn't mean it is dark outside."


class80olddog
class80olddog


I asked Maureen this question about balances the ratios of the sexes, but got no answer: "Exactly the same thing - so as a woman, you are comfortable with your daughter getting passed over in favor of a lesser qualified male to maintain this balance?"


MaureenDowney
MaureenDowney moderator

@class80olddog Didn't see that question as there are now nearly 400 comments on this thread. My kids have gotten turned down or wait-listed at colleges where their GPAs and test scores exceed the high range. Why? Because I assume that school -- for a well-rounded student body -- did not need my kid. They had enough high-performing females or males from Atlanta. I would bet my kids -- I have four, which increases the odds -- were passed over at times in favor of kids who did not have as high test scores or GPAs. But those kids had something the school needed to make its student body richer and more diverse. By diverse, I don't just mean race. I mean interests, choice of major, geography or life circumstances. Schools don't want 2,000 freshmen cut of the same mold traveling the same life path. That is just the reality. And if schools did not balance gender, neither male nor female students would want to attend. Schools have to remain attractive to students, and many boys don't want to go to school where 80 percent of their classmates are female. And girls don't want to go to schools where there are only 20 percent males.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@MaureenDowney @class80olddog  Thanks for the response.  So you are saying you would have no problem with it, correct?  Even if one of your kids had their heart set on going to Georgia Tech and they had great qualifications and then had to go to Kennesaw State (what used to be Southern Tech)?  On your thinking on balance of sexes, I would think it would be a self-correcting problem - if girls saw that the class ratio was 80% female and decided to not go there (not as good of prospects for a MRS degree) then the ratio would improve. Same with boys if they saw opportunity in going to a school with more girls - they might be more willing to enroll. 

class80olddog
class80olddog

@MaureenDowney @class80olddog  Do you think Georgia Tech should soften their enrollment criteria in order to improve diversity of certain groups? For example, only 33% of Georgia Tech students are female. At UGA, it is 57% female. Do you not think that needs to be addressed?

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@class80olddog @MaureenDowney Fortunately there are many good colleges around besides UGa and GT.  It isn't a good idea to "have your heart set on" anything nowadays.  You decide what is the best fit, and see if you can be accepted, realizing that you may not be chosen.  Not a problem for 70-80% of college-going students, who go to the school for other reasons such as proximity to home, or out of pocket cost.


And I CAN"T BELIEVE you brought up the MRS degree!  That I would have expected during my mom's college days (1940-1944)!

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Wascatlady @class80olddog @MaureenDowney   So why would a female NOT want to attend a school that is either >80% male or >80% female?  If they are just there for the education, why should it matter what the sex of her classmates are?

Barry Leo Brown
Barry Leo Brown

Umm..I thought the White House was looking into institutional discrimination against Asian college applicants?

USMC2841
USMC2841

"By most standards, Austin Jia holds an enviable position. A rising sophomore at Duke, Mr. Jia attends one of the top universities in the country, setting him up for success.

But with his high G.P.A., nearly perfect SAT score and activities — debate team, tennis captain and state orchestra — Mr. Jia believes he should have had a fair shot at Harvard, Princeton, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania. Those Ivy League colleges rejected him after he applied in the fall of 2015.

It was particularly disturbing, Mr. Jia said, when classmates with lower scores than his — but who were not Asian-American, like him — were admitted to those Ivy League institutions.

“My gut reaction was that I was super disillusioned by how the whole system was set up,” Mr. Jia, 19, said.

Students like Mr. Jia are now the subject of a lawsuit accusing Harvard of discriminating against Asian-Americans in admissions by imposing a penalty for their high achievement and giving preferences to other racial minorities."


What does the AJC have against Asian students getting fair treatment?

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

take it up with the Trump admin be because they are investigating discrimination against White American applicants, not Asian Americans applicants

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@USMC2841 Kinda funny because so many think the discrimination is ONLY towards white males!

class80olddog
class80olddog

One method that colleges (like in Texas) use to try to up enrollment of certain groups is the "top 10% rule" - where the top 10% of ever school is guaranteed to be admitted.  Although it sounds "fair" on its face, it is actually not. It still means that certain students will be accepted that have less credentials (think graduating in the top 10% from Maynard Jackson High School in APS versus the top 10% from Walton High School in East Cobb).  It is just another way around the "strict quota" rule.  Understand me, quotas exist, but they are "unofficial" - never written down.

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

I think its fair. The kid has no control over where their school is located.

class80olddog
class80olddog

@BuckeyeGa  What if the top10% of the school had a GPA of 2.0?  Still want them accepted to college?

bu22
bu22

@class80olddog @BuckeyeGa  As the former President of the University of Texas said, he was president of "the University of Texas", not "the University of 20 suburban Houston, DFW, San Antonio and Austin school districts."

CarNella BoJc Robinson
CarNella BoJc Robinson

TRUMP WANTS TO MAKE AMERICA HATE AGAIN: Affirmative action (known as employment equity in Canada, reservation in India and Nepal, and positive discrimination in the UK) is the policy of favoring members of a disadvantaged group who currently suffer or historically have suffered from discrimination within a culture. Often, these people are disadvantaged for historical reasons, such as oppression or slavery. “AN ACT TO PREVENT ALL PERSONS FROM TEACHING SLAVES TO READ OR WRITE, THE USE OF FIGURES EXCEPTED Whereas the teaching of slaves to read and write, has a tendency to excite dis-satisfaction in their minds, and to produce insurrection and rebellion, to the manifest injury of the citizens of this State: Therefore, Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That any free person, who shall hereafter teach, or attempt to teach, any slave within the State to read or write, the use of figures excepted, or shall give or sell to such slave or slaves any books or pamphlets, shall be liable to indictment in any court of record in this State…” Source: http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/slaveprohibit.html

Don Emory
Don Emory

There has been an unfair advantage to other races for a long time now

Andy Smith
Andy Smith

If judging someone based on their character and not their color is racist, then Martin Luther King was a racist. Should be an even field for all.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

Affirmative Action = discrimination.  Period.  The courts have ruled against colleges affirmative action policies but that hasn't stopped them.  They just gin up some "diversity goal" and use more obscure methods to bypass the law.

Google "Patrick Chavis".  He was the student who got into medical school ahead of more qualified whites and became the poster child for the politically correct lemmings.  Then, one of Chavis patients died and several more almost died after botched surgeries.  Chavis medical license was revoked for medical malpractice.


The question remains, if you or your loved one is being operated on, who do you want performing the surgery.  A doctor who got into medical school because of his qualifications or a doctor who got into medical school because he was a minority with less qualifications, but he met the schools "diversity goal".

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

@Lee_CPA2 Or, how about a doctor who got in because his/her daddy had money, or was an alum, but s/he had lower qualifications?

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Wascatlady @Lee_CPA2  Same would apply, BUT, for UGA at least, legacy no longer means spit.  Big donors probably get special treatment, like football players, but they only account for a very small percentage.  Still not fair, but...

readcritic
readcritic

Many athletes who can't spell their own names also get admitted on scholarships and then quit college to go to the major leagues. They should be required to repay the money to the scholarship fund.

Unmovable Ellis
Unmovable Ellis

Maybe if they stop charging for college everyone can have good jobs and education but this messed up world is all about money..........

USMC2841
USMC2841

Will professors, administrators and maintenance staffs at these "free" institutions accept unicorn farts as payment?  Will you flip the bill for the utilities on these campuses?  Maybe Bernie will sell one of his 3 homes to cover the cost....Wait a minute...Based on FBI investigations we may want to keep the Sanders away from institutions of higher learning.

Tori Ottolino
Tori Ottolino

The only criteria of being admitted to a college should be the person's grades. I don't care what color they are. If you don't have the grades that it takes to be there, don't take up space.

redweather
redweather

If only the grades assigned in high school were always reliable.

Tammy Brookover Jay
Tammy Brookover Jay

College applications should be done by number...and test scores. No names...nothing. The best students should get in....without regards to sex or race.

readcritic
readcritic

And remove all questions and check boxes for race.

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

College retention is best predicted by high school grades AND test scores.

Adetunji Adeoba III
Adetunji Adeoba III

This comes from UGA: "Race neutral alternatives at the University of Georgia have failed to achieve the critical mass of racially and ethnically diverse students to achieve a rich learning environment in our academic community. The University rejects quotas and other mechanical approaches that treat any single factor as a defining feature of an applicant’s file. Nevertheless, it has compelling interest in considering race and ethnicity as one among many factors in consideration for admission."https://www.admissions.uga.edu/Why-UGA/Student-Life/Diversity/Faculty-Diversity-Statement

CarlosSantiago
CarlosSantiago

From the UGA statement on racial and ethnic diversity:  "The University rejects quotas and other mechanical approaches that treat any single factor as a defining feature of an applicant’s file.  Nevertheless, it has compelling interest in considering race and ethnicity as one among many factors in consideration for admission."


Back when UGA was using that "total student index" for their second wave of admissions...after the largest group had been admitted earlier in the spring...race was also "one among many" factors.  And students were given extra points for any number of things.  (First one in the family to go to college, high GPA, high test scores, etc.)  But even if a student got the maximum points in every area, they would not score high enough to be admitted without getting the extra points for race.  They would go on a waiting list, and might be admitted later.  And even though the university insisted that race was only "one of many" factors, it was THE determining factor...a sine qua non...in that second round.

If race and ethnicity is "one among many factors in consideration for admission," they will be major considerations, far outweighing the others.

Euric Manning
Euric Manning

I say all the black students and athletes go to HBCU's. Watch how fast those regular schools start losing money

Diane Altman
Diane Altman

Race should not even be considered for enrollment in colleges. Each student should be judged according to his or her own merit.

Adetunji Adeoba III
Adetunji Adeoba III

I do believe race-based discrimination exists. There's no denying that some colleges factor in race when it comes to admission. We don't live in a color-blind society. Affirmative action is a double-edged sword in my opinion. While there are legitimate minority students coming from impoverished backgrounds with lower scores, there are thousand of Asian students that are not granted admittance into competitive colleges because their comparably better scores aren't high enough in percentile. Diversity on campus is important, but universities should never favor skin color over "most-likely to graduate in 4 years" as the leading admission factor.