Statistics from the 2012 America’s Best Colleges
by U.S. News & World Report for 2010-11 freshman class.
|School||% accepted||total applicants||number accepted||% Asian-Am. in student body|
|Juilliard School||No info||No info||No info||14*|
|U.S. Naval Academy||8.40||17,419||1,464||4|
|U.S. Military Academy||13.05||12,264||1,601||5*|
|U.S. Air Force Academy||13.47||11,627||1,566||8|
|U. of Pennsylvania||14.26||26,941||3,841||19|
|U.S. Coast Guard Academy||17.32||2,223||385||4|
*decrease from prior year
9/6/12 Yale Daily News: “Yale sees slight increase in freshman class diversity,”
by Andrew Giambrone
The official racial breakdown of the class of 2016 — as reported by Yale to the federal government
— is 16.8 percent Asian, 7.1 percent black, 10.4 percent Hispanic, 0.9 percent Native American and
5.4 percent multiracial.
While students in past years could only select one racial or ethnic category on application forms, the
Department of Education established new reporting guidelines in 2011 that ask students first whether they
identify as Hispanic/Latino, and then ask students to check boxes for all other racial categories with which
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeffrey Brenzel said his office is also reporting diversity statistics
without the multiracial category in order to “understand the real diversity represented in the class” —
counting students toward each group they marked on their forms. According to that methodology, the class
of 2016 is 20.2 percent Asian, 9.4 percent black, 10.4 percent Hispanic and 2.7 percent Native American,
By comparison, Harvard’s freshman class is 22.6 percent Asian, 9.4 percent black, 9.3 percent Hispanic
and 1.7 percent Native or Hawaiian-American, the Harvard Crimson reported.
“If a matriculating student were to self-identify as Latina and Native American, they would have been
reported as Hispanic [under the new federal guidelines] but as both Hispanic and Native American in the
second set of numbers,” Brenzel explained. “Similarly, if a student has self-identified as Asian and black,
they would have been reported as multiracial to [the government] but reported as both Asian and black in
the second set.”
Yale admitted 2,043 students to its freshman class, of which 1,356 chose to matriculate this fall.
5/1/12 openmarket.org: “How Elites Milk Racial Preferences for Their Own Gain,”
by Hans Bader
One of the pitfalls of race-based affirmative action is that many disadvantaged people are
less able to take advantage of it than the legal and economic elite.
Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren, a well-paid academic, claimed Native American
status based on supposedly being 1/32 Cherokee.
But the “white” plaintiff who unsuccessfully challenged the University of Washington Law
School’s affirmative action policy, Katuria Smith, had much more Native American ancestry
than Warren — she was 1/8 Native American. (A federal appeals court upheld the University
of Washington’s affirmative action policy, rejecting Smith’s class-action lawsuit, despite the
fact that its law school admitted it used racial preferences in admissions to favor black,
Hispanic, and Native American applicants, giving a very large preference to black and
Native American applicants. I was one of Smith’s lawyers in that case.)
4/4/12 Philadelphia Inquirer: “Colleges resist Asian Americans’ success,”
By Jonathan Zimmerman
In 1966, the American Jewish Committee reported that less than 1 percent of American college and
university presidents were Jewish. Since the end of World War II, about 1,000 presidencies had been
filled, and only one – that’s right, one – went to a Jew.
It wasn’t for want of good candidates. Most institutions had removed long-standing quotas on Jews,
who made up 10 to 12 percent of American college students and faculty. But when it came to choosing
leaders, the committee concluded, “bias is at work.”
It still is. Today, however, it has a different target: Asian Americans. Like Jews in the 1960s, they hold
just 1 percent of higher-education presidencies. Dartmouth’s Jim Yong Kim is the only Asian American
who has ever led an Ivy League institution. And President Obama recently nominated him to head the
But Asian Americans also continue to face a form of discrimination in university admissions. And until
we change that, we probably won’t get more Asian American college leaders, either.
According to Princeton sociologist Thomas J. Espenshade, Asian Americans have to score about
140 points higher than whites on the SAT, all other things being equal, to get into elite colleges. Everyone
knows that blacks and Hispanics get a leg up in the admissions sweepstakes. But how many realize that
whites enjoy affirmative action when they go head-to-head with Asians?
That just doesn’t make any sense. African Americans and Hispanics have suffered discrimination
across our history; whites haven’t. But if we make whites compete on a level playing field with Asians,
some argue, our colleges and universities will become, well, too Asian.
That’s exactly what American university leaders said about Jews in the early 20th century, when elite
institutions decided to limit Jewish admissions. But first they had to figure out who was Jewish. So
Harvard asked applicants to provide their mother’s maiden names. It even inquired, “What change,
if any, has been made since birth in your own name or that of your father?” And most colleges started
to require the submission of photographs, which would allegedly reveal what a Dartmouth official called
The student quotas started to be lifted in the late 1950s and early ’60s, as did similar limits on Jewish
faculty. Restrictions against Jewish college presidents lasted a little longer, as the 1966 report confirmed.
But the following year, the University of Chicago appointed Edward H. Levi, the son of a rabbi, as its
president. By 1971, Penn and Dartmouth both had Jewish presidents. Today, all but one of the eight Ivy
League schools has been led by a Jew.
Meanwhile, other underrepresented groups have also gained entry into the halls of university power.
By 2009, 5.9 percent of university presidents were African American and 4.6 percent were Hispanic.
But you can still count the number of Asian American presidents of four-year colleges on two hands.
Here in the Delaware Valley, Ursinus’ Bobby Fong is the only one.
You can’t explain that without thinking about admissions. Almost every elite institution is trying to recruit
more blacks and Hispanics, so hiring a president from one of those groups makes sense. But an Asian
American president might stamp the institution as “too” Asian, which is what universities are trying to avoid.
We need to ask why. After California forbade state universities from considering race in admissions,
the Asian American share of the student body at the University of California, Berkeley, jumped from
20 percent to 40 percent. At the California Institute of Technology, which doesn’t consider race either,
about a third of the students are now Asian.
Both institutions have benefited from an infusion of talented students, many of whom would not get
into other elite universities simply because of their race. The people who lose out are less-qualified
whites, who would fare better in a system that limits Asian admissions.
And maybe that’s the real story here: Beneath all the rhetoric, we’re simply afraid of a minority that
has done too well. That’s why Jews were so threatening for so many years, and why Asians are now.
Shame on us for making the same mistake twice.
Jonathan Zimmerman teaches history at New York University and lives in Narberth. He is the author
of “Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory” (Yale University Press).
3/30/12 Harvard Gazette: “2,032 admitted to Class of ’16”
Letters and email notifications of admission to Harvard College were sent today to 2,032 students,
5.9 percent of the applicant pool of 34,302. Admitted students have until May 1 to accept their offers.
The admitted class is 20.7 percent Asian-American, 10.2 percent African-American, 11.2 percent
Latino, 1.7 percent Native American, and 0.5 percent Native Hawaiian.
3/16/12 The Tech (MIT) “1,620 students admitted to Class of 2016,”
This year’s acceptance rate of 8.9 percent was a record low, with a record high of 18,109
The class of 2016 is nine percent African-American, 31 percent Asian-American, 35 percent
Caucasian, 14 percent Hispanic, and one percent Native American. Similarly to last year, 49 percent
of admitted students are women. There was a slight increase in admitted international students, from
eight percent last year to nine percent.
2/18/12 San Francisco Chronicle: “Asian-American Student Withdraws Bias Complaint Against Harvard,”
by Daniel Golden ( Bloomberg News)
(Bloomberg) — An Asian-American student withdrew federal complaints that Harvard University and
Princeton University rejected him for their current freshman classes because of his race, according to
The U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights notified Harvard on Feb. 15 that it had closed
the case because the complaint was withdrawn.
The Office for Civil Rights also informed Princeton that the complaint against it had been dropped.
Complaints on the applicant’s behalf were filed in August 2011 against the universities. The student,
whose family originally came from India, was among the top performers in his California high school
class, according to his father, who declined to be identified. The student and his father didn’t respond
to messages asking why the complaints were withdrawn.
The complaints fed the longstanding debate about whether elite universities hold Asian-Americans
to a higher standard in college admissions. Asian-Americans made up 16 percent of Harvard
undergraduates in the 2010-2011 academic year, down from 18 percent in 2005-2006, according to
the university’s website. The proportion of Asian-Americans among Princeton undergraduates
increased to 17.7 percent this year from 14.1 percent in 2007- 2008.
2/7/12 Yale Daily News: “Suit alleges bias in elite admissions: The U.S. Department of
Education is looking into racial discrimination in admissions at Harvard and Princeton,”
By Andrew Giambrone
The U.S. Department of Education’s investigation into alleged racial discrimination by Harvard
and Princeton universities has prompted discussion about whether discrimination impacts admission
processes at the nation’s elite schools.
Harvard and Princeton came under fire last week after Bloomberg reported that an Indian-American
student from California, who declined to be identified, had filed complaints with the Department of
Education’s Office of Civil Rights claiming he had been denied admission to the schools because of
his race. The student’s allegations have stirred discussion among higher education officials and
experts as to whether racial discrimination plays a cloaked role in today’s college admissions process.
While experts remain unsure whether the allegations have sufficient legal grounding, four of five
interviewed said they think the complaints are linked to growing anxiety about the competitiveness of
college admissions among Asian-Americans, many of whom who feel the system is unfair.
An increasing number of students from Asian-American families are rejected from the nation’s top
colleges and universities each year, four higher education experts said.
“I think the kinds of folks who are suing these institutions reflect a real fear in the Asian-American
community,” said OiYan Poon, a professor of Asian-American studies at the University of California,
Los Angeles. “The fear is that compared to a white applicant with similar qualifications, the white
applicant will be chosen over the Asian-American one.”
Lee Cheng, secretary of the Asian American Legal Foundation — a non-profit organization based
in San Francisco — predicted that claims of racial discrimination in college admissions from Asian-
American students and their families will likely increase in the next five years.
But Cheng and other experts said such complaints will be difficult to analyze until colleges and
universities release admissions data in full — including demographics, legacy status and test scores.
If that information were made public, Cheng said he expects the data would show that race and ethnic
discrimination do factor into college admissions decisions.
Both Cheng and Stephen Hsu, a physics professor at the University of Oregon who taught physics
at Yale from 1995-’98, said Ivy League schools should be more open with their admissions statistics.
“In my opinion, any educational institution, public or private, which receives significant government
support should be required to release aggregate admissions data of this kind, which includes
information about ethnicity, legacy and athletic status, and all other variables of significant weight in
the admissions decision,” Hsu said in a Sunday email. “Transparency is essential to this important
discussion, and the requirement could easily be mandated by the Department of Education.”
All five higher education experts interviewed also pointed to the holistic criteria that colleges and
universities use to evaluate candidates as a factor in perceptions of discrimination among the Asian-
Asian-Americans statistically score better on standardized tests, Poon said, and thus often believe
they must have exceptionally high scores to stand out among their peers. But she said that since
colleges take into account many factors when making admissions decisions — grades, leadership
experience, athletics and extracurriculars, among others — those standardized test scores alone
are likely not the reason why a candidate would be rejected or admitted, and not sufficient evidence
of racial discrimination.
Hsu added that Harvard and Princeton reject numerous Asian-American applicants each year who
have perfect scores on the SAT, which by itself does not constitute racial discrimination.
Poon said cases like the ones filed against Harvard and Princeton are “unfortunate” because they
draw national attention away from “real educational issues” affecting Asian-Americans, such as
racialized bullying in schools and poor education in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas.
Roughly 700 to 750 students who identified as Asian-American were enrolled at Yale each year
between 2005 and 2010, though that number jumped to 812 during the 2011-’12 admissions cycle,
according to data from the Office of Institutional Research.
Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jeffrey Brenzel said in a Monday email that Asian-Americans
make up at least 15 percent of current Yale undergraduates. Still, Brenzel cautioned that the actual
percentage of Asian-American undergraduates would be greater because it would account for
multiracial students and Asian-Americans who did not respond to the optional racial identity question
on the University’s undergraduate admissions application.
Of the current 812 Yale students who identify as Asian-Americans, 357 are male and are 455
female, according to the Office of Institutional Research.
2/3/12 San Francisco Chronicle: “What Harvard Owes Its Top Asian-American Applicants”
by Stephen Hsu
Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) — It’s a common belief among Asian- American families that their children are held
to higher academic standards than college applicants from other ethnic groups. Such practices were openly
acknowledged after investigations at universities like Berkeley and Stanford in the 1980s and 1990s.
Have they been corrected?
2/3/12 Inside Higher Ed: “Is It Bias? Is It Legal?”
By Scott Jaschik
One applicant who came to Michele Hernandez this fall for help getting into college had two academic
passions – science and Latin – and great grades, too. With report after report calling on colleges to attract
more talent to STEM fields, and jobs going unfilled for lack of science and technology expertise, perhaps
play up the science? Not for this applicant. Hernandez, the author of A Is for Admission and the founder of a
high-end private counseling service, said she steered the applicant in the other direction. He is an Asian
“I told him Latin was way better to stress, and that helped him a ton,” she said. (He is already in to his first
choice institution.) If, as an Asian American, you apply, “as another biology major, as another pre-med, you
are doomed,” Hernandez said.
2/3/12 Philadelphia Inquirer: “Ursinus’ Fong a rare Asian American college president,”
By Jeff Gammage
Ursinus College made a highly unusual move when it named Bobby Fong its president last year.
Not because of his qualifications – he’s brilliant, educated at Harvard, editor of a volume of poetry, a world
authority on Oscar Wilde.
It was unusual because Fong is Chinese American. And in the United States, Asians rarely get to be
2/2/12 Bloomberg Business Week: “Harvard Targeted in U.S. Asian-American Discrimination Probe,”
By Daniel Golden
(Bloomberg) — The U.S. Education Department is probing complaints that Harvard University and
Princeton University discriminate against Asian-Americans in undergraduate admissions.
2/2/12 biggovernment.com: “Did Top Liberal Arts College Falsify SAT Data to Legitimize Racial
by Charles C. Johnson
Claremont McKenna College, a private liberal arts college in Los Angeles, has earned international
infamy for fraudulently misreporting its SAT scores to game the U.S. News & World Report rankings.
Richard Vos, dean of admissions since 1987, resigned in disgrace Monday, starting a nationwide debate
about the role of SATs in higher education and the integrity of Claremont’s admission process. But absent
from any analysis is this: Vos began falsifying SAT scores in 2005, right around the time Claremont began
to institutionalize racial preferences. An investigation of the data since released suggests that Claremont
manipulated the school’s scores to cover up admittance of under-qualified minority students.
2/1/12 Chronicle of Higher Education: “Inflated SAT Scores Reveal ‘Elasticity of Admissions Data’”
By Eric Hoover
In the Wild West of college admissions, there is no Data Sheriff.
The latest reminder arrived on Monday when Claremont McKenna College announced that a senior
administrator had resigned after admitting to falsely reporting SAT statistics since 2005. In an e-mail to the
campus, Pamela B. Gann, the college’s president, said an internal review found that scores for each fall’s
freshman class had been “generally inflated by an average of 10-20 points each.” The apparent perpetrator
was Richard C. Vos, long the college’s dean of admissions and financial aid, who has resigned from the
1/23/12 [Georgetown] Hoya: “Applicants More Diverse, Dispersed in Record-Setting Year,”
By Braden McDonald
This year’s prospective freshman class set a record with 20,050 applications to the university’s class
But they also set a record in diversity, as the numbers of African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic
and international students applying to the university continued to rise, according to Dean of
Undergraduate Admissions Charles Deacon.
From last year, applications from African-Americans and Asian-Americans each jumped 1.05 percent
from 1,773 to 1,858 and from 2,786 to 2,934, respectively. Meanwhile, the number of applications from
Hispanic students increased 1.1 percent from 2,067 to 2,266 and the number of international
applications rose 1.05 percent from 2,255 to 2,344.
1/4/12 Chronicle of Higher Education: “New Hampshire Ends Affirmative-Action
Preferences at Colleges,”
By Peter Schmidt
Public colleges in New Hampshire are precluded from using affirmative-action
preferences in hiring or admissions decisions under a new law that took effect on
January 1 after being passed by the state’s legislature last year with relatively little
12/28/11 Bloomberg: “Lure of Chinese Tuition Pushes Out Asian-Americans,”
By Oliver Staley
The University of California system, rocked by budget cuts, is enrolling record numbers of out-of-state
and international students, many from China, who pay almost twice that of in-state residents, squeezing
out high-achieving Asian-Americans.
Kwanhyun Park, the 18-year-old son of Korean immigrants, spent four years at Beverly Hills High School
earning the straight As and high test scores he thought would get him into the University of California,
San Diego. They weren’t enough.
The sought-after school, half a mile from the Pacific Ocean, admitted 1,460 fewer California residents
this year to accept higher-paying students from out-of-state, many from China.
12/16/11 New York Post: “Hiding their race,”
By Rich Lowry
To check or not to check the Asian box? That’s the choice faced by Asian-American students applying to what are supposed to be the most tolerant places on Earth: the nation’s colleges.
12/15/11 Harvard Magazine: “Harvard College Admits 772 Early Applicants,”
Harvard College announced today that 772 of 4,231 applicants for nonbinding early admission had been
accepted. The College reinstated early admission as an option for the class entering next fall, after a four-
year period of offering only the common, regular admission procedure.
According to the news release, fewer early applicants were admitted this year than in the recent past,
even with a larger early-action pool. William R. Fitzsimmons, dean of admissions and financial aid, cited
the growth in total applicants (to nearly 35,000 last year) as a reason for being more discerning in granting
Among applicants not granted admission now, 2,838 were deferred for regular action with the rest of the
applicant pool, with decisions announced in early spring; 546 applicants were denied admission; and the
remainder either withdrew or submitted incomplete applications.
Those admitted from the early-applicant pool this year are, according to the news release, “more diverse
ethnically than any previous early cohort” and “comparable with the current freshman class. Although it is
difficult to make precise comparisons to previous years because of changes in federal requirements
concerning collecting and reporting race and ethnicity information, 9.6 percent of admitted students this year
are African-American, compared with 7.2 percent the last time Harvard had early action. There was a similar
increase for Latinos (9.9 percent vs. 7.9 percent) and Native Americans and Native Hawaiians (1.7 percent
vs. 1 percent), and a slight decrease for Asian Americans (22 percent vs. 23 percent). The current freshman
class is 19 percent Asian American, 10 percent African-American, 10.2 percent Latino, and 1.7 percent
Native American and Native Hawaiian.”
The College tracks such data because one rationale for dropping early action four years ago was its
presumed adverse effect on applicants from relatively disadvantaged backgrounds, whose schools, for
instance, might have less adequate guidance counseling.
The effect on financial diversity, however, is still unclear: according to the news release, “It is still too early
to determine the socioeconomic composition of the admitted group because many students have not yet
submitted financial information.”
12/13/11 Chronicle of Higher Education: “Professor Says Naval Academy Inflates Applicant Numbers
to Improve Ranking,”
A professor at the U.S. Naval Academy has accused the institution of inflating its application numbers in
order to appear more selective and thus rise in national rankings like those compiled by U.S. News & World
Report. Students who applied to a weeklong Summer Seminar and candidates who never completed their
applications are included in the academy’s annual tally of applicants, according to documents obtained
through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the professor, Bruce Fleming. The Class of 2015 was
reportedly chosen from 19,145 applicants, but only 5,720 people actually completed applications, according
to the documents, which Mr. Fleming gave to the Navy Times. That means the academy’s 7.4-percent
acceptance rate is actually closer to 25 percent. The academy defended its approach, saying it has used
this method of counting applicants for at least 20 years. Mr. Fleming, an English professor, has been
a longtime critic of the academy’s admissions policies.
11/14/11 The Cornell Daily Sun: “No Asians Need Apply,”
By Judah Bellin
My father likes to tell a story about my grandfather, a former professor at Columbia’s school of public health. At a meeting with colleagues in the faculty club at Cornell Hospital, he noticed the presence of Jews, Italians and other ethnic groups at the table, and recalled the ugly history of ethnic discrimination in college and medical school admissions. “Years ago they wouldn’t admit us into this school,” he remarked. “Now look where we are.”
When will Asians have this moment?
It’s hard to deny that the admissions process is stacked against Asian students. A study on affirmative action by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade showed that when numerous factors are controlled for, Hispanic students receive a admissions boost equivalent to around 130 points on the SAT, while black students receive a boost of 310 points. Asian students, however, face a 140 point penalty. It was therefore
no surprise when, after California outlawed the use of racial preferences in admissions, the representation of Asian Americans jumped significantly at University of California schools.
We can’t really gauge Cornell’s role in penalizing Asian applicants, mostly because the admissions office is always hesitant to reveal information about minority students. However, we must pay careful attention to our treatment of Asian students. I do know of one former admissions officer who likes to boast about rejecting scores of Asians because he didn’t want them in his classes. Given the faculty condescension towards Asian students that I and many others have observed, it wouldn’t surprise me if more admissions officers acted on similar impulses.
True, any information on this phenomenon is anecdotal. However, this will also be true years from now. We won’t uncover evidence of rigid quota systems, or committees tasked with addressing “the Jewish question,” a la Harvard and Yale in the early 20th century. I suspect, though, that future interviews with former admissions officers will reveal that “the Asian question” — what to do about massive numbers of qualified Asian applicants? — has been both a persistent worry and a major factor in admissions
Such subtle discrimination would be consistent with Cornell’s history. We never instituted a rigid quota system for Jewish students; however, there was always an underlying concern that Jews might overtake the University due to their disproportionate success on standardized tests. Therefore, President Livingston Farrand asserted that though “Cornell had not adopted any general anti-Semitic rule,” it could not “permit
itself to be so flooded by Jewish students as to kill non-Jewish attendance.” Though we do not know how this affected Jewish admissions at the undergraduate colleges, a similar attitude likely influenced the dean of Cornell’s medical school, who in 1940 described his attempt to “limit the number of Jews admitted to each class to roughly the proportion of Jews in the population of the state.”
I have no doubt that admissions officers now use similar rhetoric about “flooding” with regards to Asian students, both at Cornell and around the country. Of course, this is not entirely unwarranted: If Cornell wishes to create leaders for many different segments of our society, a class of qualified students representing mostly one ethnic, racial, socioeconomic or political group is undesirable. However, history suggests that this attitude may both reflect and reinforce widely held, yet unwarranted, cultural stereotypes.
And indeed, many members of the student body will also lump together all Asian students. This has a decisive impact on our social fabric. Indeed, it is no secret that many of our campus organizations — especially, but not exclusively, fraternities — have an unspoken fear of appearing “too Asian,” just as many of Cornell’s fraternities, sports teams and ROTC units were careful not to accept or promote too many Jews in the early 20th century.
Jewish students eventually overcame discrimination in both college admissions and campus life. However, their success story provides little guidance for Asian students for a few important reasons. The first is that Jews succeeded due to the University’s newly placed emphasis on merit, as measured by exam scores and grades. As Espenshade showed, Asian applicants’ merit won’t get them in the door.
More importantly, the “Asian question” has emerged after we’ve made tremendous strides toward eliminating racial discrimination, and after our society has determined which minorities should benefit from racial preferences. Our institutions — particularly college admissions officers — have little room to accommodate new minority groups.
A Chinese friend once expressed frustration with his campus organization, because, by his telling, at their recruitment meeting they considered their Asian applicants as interchangeable but other ethnic minorities as worthy of individualized attention. “I think it’s really sad,” he said, after we discussed his story in light of Jewish quotas. “So many Chinese parents dream of sending their kids to America, but they have no idea that this is happening.”
His statement resonated deeply with me, but his subsequent point, that Asian students will continue applying to Cornell no matter how poorly we treat them, resonated more. In their minds, the opportunities represented by our institution, and by our country, outweigh any discrimination they might anticipate or even experience. All citizens, and all students — especially those like myself, whose grandparents faced similar challenges but persevered — must live up to their expectations.
Judah Bellin is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences.
10/1/11 New America Media: “Cal’s Pay-by-Race Bake Sale Gets Yawn from Asian Students,”
by Denise Chan
Berkeley, Calif. — The debate over colorblind admissions policies in California’s four-year public colleges is heating up again.
The passage of Prop. 209, the anti-affirmative action initiative passed by state voters in 1996, prohibited public institutions from considering race, sex or ethnicity.
SB 185, one of hundreds of bills currently before Gov. Jerry Brown awaiting his signature, would once again allow public universities to consider race and other factors in admitting students.
Tensions heated up on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley this week as the Berkeley College Republicans held a controversial bake sale to protest SB 185. The so-called “Increase Diversity Bake Sale” priced baked goods by race with white makes charged the highest price ($2 per item) and Native Americans charged the least (a quarter per item). The pay-by-race bake sale drew criticism from many campus groups.
Asian Americans, asked to pay the second highest price for baked goods ($1.50 per item), were mostly quiet during Tuesday’s event.
David Ding, a third-year student, commented on the lack of Asian Americans taking sides on the issue.
“Well, I mean, where they at? [You don’t see them around]… but they’re a majority race on campus,” he said.
Henry Der, former deputy superintendent of the California Department of Education and former executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, believed the current crop of Asian American students at UC Berkeley did not have a strong voice on the bake sale or on SB-185 because they did not grow up at a time when affirmative action was being considered or implemented.
He said Hispanic and African American students are passionate about this issue because they do not see themselves as well represented on the campus as their Asian peers are.
Behind the Theater Rice (UC Berkeley’s Modern Asian American Theatre) table, Tiffany Chiao, a senior, continued surfing the web and ignoring the loud protests as Ashley Gau, a second-year student, returned to their table munching on a cookie that she said she “got for free” by telling the sellers “I was Native American.”
While Asian American students arguably have the most at stake with the measure, their voices have largely been absent from the debate on it.
Here, at the University of California’s most elite campus, admissions policies in the era after Prop. 209 have been a big boon to Asian Americans.
The group, which accounted for about a third of UC Berkeley’s student body in 1995, grew to slightly more than 40 percent of the student population last year.
In 1995, blacks made up about 7 percent of the campus’ student body, whites made up about a third, Asian Americans (including Filipinos and South Asians) also made up a third, and Latinos/Chicanos made up roughly 18 percent.
In 2010, the racial/ethnic breakdown of the student body is roughly 3.7 percent for blacks, 32 percent for whites, 41 percent for Asians and 14.8 percent for Latinos/Chicanos.
But admissions data show that, university-wide, the percentage of Asian Americans admitted to the university stayed nearly the same – about 33 percent — from 1995 to 2010.
Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC) executive vice president Christopher Alabastro speculates that the lack of Asian American voice reflects their mixed views on this issue.
“We are all students of color,” he said, in a phone interview. “But because of our [large] numbers, some feel that affirmative action would reverse the number of Asian Americans [admitted to UC].”
Alabastro said his views on affirmative action changed when he examined his own privileged background.
“Prior to Berkeley, I was against affirmative action,” he said. “I thought everything should be based on merit… but I realize that was because I came from a background of privilege… I wanted to have that pride of working hard and making it into college on my own. But [I realize now], I have to put aside that pride because a lot of students have had different struggles.”
Sydney Fang, ASUC senator and co-author of the ASUC bill in support of SB 185, emphasized that AB 185 is not proposing affirmative action; there is no quota or extra point due to racial preferencing mentioned in the bill. Rather, the difference is its rhetoric. During a phone interview, Fang said that the bill calls for factors such as race, gender, and socioeconomic factors to be taken into consideration during the admissions process. This, she claims, in contrast to racial preferencing, allows for a broadening of criteria and an increased sensitivity towards understanding how different factors affect one another.
Fang says that the category “Asian Amercian” doesn’t offer a fine grain look at how subgroups are faring under current admission policies.
“On paper, [it states that there are] 46 percent Asian and Pacific Islanders… but if you look further,
Pacific Islanders are very underrepresented,” Fang said.
Klein Liu, a 4th year tech director of the California College Democrats, asserts: “This policy will not directly benefit [Asian Americans]. You are supporting this policy to stand in solidarity with your fellow
students of color.”
But, not all students voiced support for SB 185.
Jay Reddy and Gina Youn, two freshmen from Pleasanton, sat by the bake sale eating lunch. Both said they disagreed with the principles behind affirmative action.
Reddy compared affirmative action to the forced caste diversity demanded within the Indian government.
“It’s kind of the same thing… [because it’s forced], the standards are lowered; it’s not fair.”
“I don’t support this either,” Gina said. “Affirmative action sets races against each other.”
7/12/11 National Review: “California Wants to Discriminate Against Asians . . . Again”
by Charles C. Johnson
Okay, so Governor Jerry Brown didn’t say that explicitly when he joined the growing chorus of activists
trying to water down or overturn California’s Proposition 209, a ballot effort that invalidated the
consideration of race in higher education, in the wake of the ruling out of the Sixth Circuit. The Pasadena
Star-News has the details.
The overwhelming losers in this scheme to contort the logic of the Constitution are Asians, as years of
data has revealed.
Jennifer Rubin, writing over at The Weekly Standard in 2008, laid bare the findings of a study that looked
at the abolition of anti-Asian preferences in universities:
A 2008 study of changes at the Universities of California, Texas, and Florida after racial preferences
were eliminated showed:
At UCB [Berkeley], for example, Asian-American FTIC [first time in college] enrollment jumped from
1,277 or 37.30 percent in 1995 to 1,632 or 43.57 percent in 2000 following the implementation of
Proposition 209, and, since that date, the number and percentage of Asian-Americans has increased
steadily at both UCB and UCLA, reaching 46.59 percent at UCB and 41.53 at UCLA. For UCSD
[San Diego], the number of Asian-American students continues to increase as both a number and percent
of the student body, from 1,070 or 35.93 percent in 1995 to 1,133 or 36.33 percent in 2000 and to 1,684
or 46.88 percent in 2005. At Texas, the number of Asian-American FTIC students went from 886 or
14.26 percent in 1995 to 1,311 or 17.74 percent in 2000 and has leveled off at 17.33 percent in 2005,
while in Florida, which has a much smaller Asian-American population, the UF numbers grew from 342
or 7.50 percent in 1995 to 518 or 7.84 percent in 2000, and to 531 or 8.65 percent in 2005.
The authors concluded:
Clearly in an open admissions process where affirmative action does not enter into enrollment
decisions and where legacy and donor issues are discouraged, Asian-American students compete
very well. What the data also reveal is that Asian-American students filled the gap as black and Hispanic
enrollment fell following the elimination of affirmative action in California.
In 2005, yet another study, described in The Chronicle of Higher Education, looked at who would be
the big gainers in a world without affirmative action. Here’s what it found.
In short, black and Latino enrollment would tank, while white enrollments would hardly be affected.
The big winners would be Asian applicants, who appear to face “disaffirmative action” right now. They
would pick up about four out of five spots lost by black and Latino applicants.
. . .
The research looked at admissions decisions at elite colleges and found that without affirmative action,
the acceptance rate for African American candidates would be likely to fall by nearly two-thirds, from
33.7 percent to 12.2 percent, while the acceptance rate for Hispanic applicants probably would be cut
in half, from 26.8 percent to 12.9 percent.
While white admit rates would stay steady, Asian students would be big winners under such a system.
Their admission rate in a race-neutral system would go to 23.4 percent, from 17.6 percent. And their
share of a class of admitted students would rise to 31.5 percent, from 23.7 percent.
All else being equal, Asians have, in the words of an Asian activist friend of mine, “a Chinaman’s
chance” of being admitted at our top schools. If California Republicans were intelligent, they would use
this data against their racist adversaries in every majority-Asian neighborhood in the state.
Why don’t they?