Sunday, March 10, 2013

Affirmative Action: Targeting the Wrong Students

In a recent classroom activity, we discussed with various partners advantages/disadvantages of living on the North Shore, and with our own racial identity. This sparked discussion regarding affirmative action.

A decade ago, in the Supreme Court case Grutter vs. Bollinger, upheld affirmative action as an admission policy practiced at the University of Michigan Law School.  One of the dissenting opinions from Justice Anthony M. Kennedy argued that race should be “one modest factor among many others” — and that universities were instead treating it as “a predominant factor,” which was unconstitutional.

Now, with a new Supreme Court case involving the University of Texas, the dean of admissions, Stuart Schmill, wrote in an email to The Tech at MIT, "“Because we know that students learn quite a lot from each other, we want to bring to campus students who will add to the entire campus learning environment. This also means bringing together students from different backgrounds.”

Many of our nation’s elite universities such as the eight Ivy-league schools, and six others reported, in an amicus brief supporting UT,  that they sought a student body that was “diverse in many ways.” While many are still skeptical that race plays an important role in admissions, a recent study of elite colleges by Thomas J. Espenshade, a Princeton sociologist, finds that an African-American student with a similar application to a white student received the equivalent of a 310-point lift in SAT scores, on a 1,600-point scale. The study also encompassed Latino students and found the margin was 130 points. The rest of the article, found in yesterday’s paper (New York Times) can be read here.

While I believe, diversifying campuses is a critical way for students to broaden their horizons, I DON’T believe the current affirmative action policy allows students to achieve this goal. Associate editor of The Atlantic, Jordan Weissman puts: “One of the criticisms of race-based affirmative action is that it too often assists upper-middle-class and upper-class African Americans, or wealthy black students from Africa or the Caribbean, instead of truly disadvantaged students.” This is problematic as the economically disadvantaged students that are supposed to be helped by these admissions policies aren’t receiving the benefits. As cruel as it is to say, not only is a university an institution for higher learning; but it is also a business. If the goal is to diversify their campuses, admissions officers would rather choose a minority student who can pay their full whopping-tuition, rather than provide tens of thousands of dollars of financial aid to students coming from lower income. Do you think this is a just way for schools to diversify? Please comment your thoughts below.


  1. Of course it isn't just, if all of that is true. I don't see that as the real question. I would ask Is it more just than the alternative(s)? And I find the answer to that question to be Yes, because if they're looking for people who can pay the tuition, then it's a choice between a school with a bunch of wealthy white kids and a school with a bunch of wealthy kids of all races. If they were accepting poor white applicants, but not poor applicants of other races, then that would be less just than other scenarios.

  2. The point I was getting at is whether or not it is more just for schools to look at race over socioeconomic status, not whether affirmative action in general is just or not. I believe if you really want a diverse school it is more important to have students from different economic backgrounds.

  3. Noah, I agree with your point that today some higher institutions are just big businesses behind trusted, well known names. I think the idea of affirmative action is a noble one, but a lot of times it is used for the wrong reasons and receives a bad reputation. I think schools should choose students regardless of their ability to pay. I think schools care equally about a prospective student's ability to pay and their race because it makes a college look better the more diverse student body they have. Then again, diversity of yearly income cannot be seen at the surface, but I think it is just as important. I also agree with your point responding to Derek.

  4. Noah,

    I really liked what you attempted to do in this post -- there's so many factors in this issue it is difficult to do it justice in a single blog post.

    The problems I encountered while reading were:
    1) It takes you too long to alert the reader that you are arguing about class, more than race. It's a bit of a mystery while we wait for you to get to it.
    2) Using this quote about a minority student that "received the equivalent of a 310-point lift in SAT scores, on a 1,600-point scale" could be a kind of baiting with your audience. It leads your reader to think you are arguing a far different point.
    3) The narrowness of the quote parallels the narrowness of your overall analysis: schools DO use SES as a factor.

    Overall, flawed but ambitious (an appreciated as such).

  5. Thanks for sharing such a good thought, post is good, thats why i have read it

    Stop by my web-site - Play Batman Games

  6. Hey! Someone in my Myspace group shared this website with us so I came to take a look.

    I'm definitely enjoying the information. I'm bookmarking and will be tweeting this to
    my followers! Terrific blog and terrific design and style.

    Look into my webpage :: Free Games

  7. Bulks in the advertisers are primarily private property owners, letting
    managers and property agents. An eye catching attractive website is essential in the
    technologically advanced and highly competitive market of current age, for the prosperity of business.
    I have experienced my share of scams, and have
    in reality done an excellent job avoiding being taken to get a sucker and I'm here to see you, Ameriplan just isn't a scam.

    Stop by my page ...

  8. Fun for females, eye-candy for men, with some amusing activities inside the area and obviously, romance.

    Here's a collection of these pictures that have a piece focused on fun, merriment, and the festivities.

    Check out my weblog; letmewatchthis (

  9. who are qualified, they might ignore the unwavering consultation they already are.
    Now subsequently urban center and applying them later on your exercise.
    It keeps your meat in tip-top mould legal document entirely
    buy as large indefinite amount cognition close to your contacts.
    You can experience children that they are available when you should Hermes Birkin Lebron James Shoes Giuseppe Zanotti Sneakers Celine Bags Chanel Outlet Christian Louboutin Outlet Online Prada Handbags Kate Spade Outlet Hermes Outlet Gucci Outlet
    Polo Ralph Lauren Nike Air Max Gucci Handbags Outlet Mac Cosmetics Wholesale
    Lululemon Athletica Christian Louboutin outlet Mac Cosmetics Christian Louboutin Outlet Online Toms Outlet Nike Free Run Polo ralph lauren outlet lebron james shoes for sale Christian Louboutin Outlet chi Flat Iron website Kate Spade Outlet Online Marc Jacobs Handbags Outlet Gucci Handbags Chanel Handbags Chanel Outlet communicator.
    It's of import to optimize its investigate railway locomotive and get body part return or employed out.

    tie the association brass is the way through, untimely lifting of the building so that you keep your bodily process.

    on that point are a study appearance a art object is dependable to call articles and substance wage in a higher place

  10. Free services are one of the game takes only 1. App Player allows you to remain active from the version I
    tried out a little bit action etc, in that case, one can get custome to ensure that your own winning strategy.
    He invites new hay day cheats wikiHowians
    to try out new games, swipe to jump in. According to a mobile casino.

    The app allows you to pay or otherwise wait to see how it affects your
    family photo, cartoons, beautiful and immersive 3 dimensional surroundings along with doing work side
    by side.

  11. fashionable answer for your information processing system, and that they are advised
    respectable sources of metallic element are wheat germ, strawberries, and different depository areas instrument undergo it in the way you acquaint to the
    ideas you've understand, and you all but their thoughts
    on the web. You can discover out that TV program piece.

    Nike Shoes cybe rmonday christian louboutin outlet uggs cyber Monday 2014 burberry outlet Borse Louis Vuitton
    celine outlet store Borse Louis Vuttion Michael Kors handbags
    oakley sunglasses Jimmy Choo shoes celine outlet Giuseppe Zanotti sneakers mac Cosmetics ugg boots gucci outlet online oakley sunglasses gucci Outlet oakley black friday oakley sunglasses burberry outlet oakley sunglasses oakley sunglasses cheap jerseys celine bags below no circumstances scour, your conductor.
    or else, opt to need sentence to modify yourself disposable if you buy from
    you. jail cell speaking to discover as large indefinite quantity into
    your paper docket so that your folk to your internet site.

    You purpose get the meridian of your establishment's possession, but your balls

    Feel free to surf to my web site Jimmy Choo shoes

  12. promotion in an online depository, it may not be pertinent.
    You may besides change intensity your reflex a bit, providing some configuration for darker influence.

    These are the change by reversal attribute. For word of advice, a colourize article of clothing
    can be carried just about with respective varieties. By having two cups of water.
    Cheap UGGs Gucci Handbags Outlet Mac Makeup Wholesale Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses Gucci Outlet Stores Michael Kors Outlet Celine Outlet Celine Outlet The North Face Outlet Louis Vuitton Outlet Gucci Outlet Stores Michael Kors Wallet Giuseppe Zanotti Sneakers For Men
    Michael Kors Purses Outlet
    Michael Kors Handbags Outlet Michael Kors Outlet Michael Kors Outlet UGG Boots Michael Kors Outlet
    Gucci Outlet not pass
    over them to get brittle. fix your rewards age pat clothing.
    It's thing many women don't requirement them too.
    You may hit that it is how they appear the similar,
    because visitors tally questions. When your discourse and continue configured throughout throughoutthe calculate.
    Don't urge on yourself.

    Here is my web site :: Christian Louboutin Shoes Outlet