Why Harvard's weird take on Asian-American applicants?


From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in GoLocal24.com

U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs has ruled that Harvard’s admissions process doesn’t discriminate against Asian-American applicants, though, she wrote, the university could improve the process with more training and oversight.

But a mystery: Judge Burroughs noted that Asian-American applicants generally got lower ratings on such qualities as integrity, fortitude and empathy. How would Harvard admissions officers come up with such measurements? Makes no sense to me.

Anyway, Harvard and other very selective schools take into account ethnicity among many other factors in putting together a first-year class. The admissions process at elite institutions has to be complicated as the schools strive for diversity so that their schools are at least marginally representative of America. For the courts and other parts of government to try to micromanage the process, especially at private institutions, is inappropriate.

This issue is particularly resonant in New England, with so many highly selective schools, most famously four (Harvard, Yale, Brown and Dartmouth) of the eight Ivy League schools and MIT. Ed Blum, the lawsuit’s originator, was previously involved in challenging the University of Texas’s affirmative-action program. Blum is a right-wing zealot whose efforts would restore what has in effect been white privilege to the admissions process.