Statistics from the 2015 America’s Best Colleges
by U.S. News & World Report for 2013-14 freshman class.
|School||% accepted||total applicants||number accepted||% Asian-Am. in student body|
|U.S. Naval Academy||7.35||19,146||1,408||6|
|Juilliard School||Did not answer questionnaire||Has been discriminating against Asian Americans for 20 years||Stop donating||Dropped from 30% in 1993 to 11% in 2014|
|U. of Chicago||8.82||30,271||2,670||18|
|U.S. Military Academy||8.96||15,408||1,380||6|
|U. of Pennsylvania||12.24||31,282||3,830||19|
|U.S. Air Force Academy||15.43||9,634||1,486||5|
*decrease from prior year
8/25/15 The College Fix: “Stereotyped as fountains of money, Asian students struggle to pay for their educations”
by Micah Fleck – Columbia University
Two years at Columbia ‘has cost most of my parents’ money’
Students of Asian descent are often seen as a financial godsend to American universities because administrators assume their families can comfortably pay full tuition.
But that’s not always the case, and it feeds the impression among some applicants that they are valued only for their money – even when a child’s education breaks the family bank.
8/24/15 The Daily Bruin: “Arthur Wang: Policy, history aid in Asian American success, not cultural values”
by Arthur Wang
“UCLA stands for UC Lots of Asians.” I’m sure you have heard that one before.
Asians are everywhere at UCLA – 34 percent of undergraduates, to be exact. Around 15 percent of the Ivy League students is Asian, even as that number is 4.8 percent nationally. Those are facts. But what everyone wants to know is – why? Why are Asians so well-represented at top schools?
8/10/15 Pacific Standard: “The Dangerous Weight of Expectations; Why do so many Asian-American students suffer from depression?”
by Jennifer Chen
During the fall semester of her senior year at New York University in 2011, Reera Yoo found herself struggling to remember simple things, like what she’d had for breakfast that morning. She would find herself holding pills and knives, but not knowing why. A couple of weeks before she was hospitalized for suicidal tendencies, anxiety about going outside kept Yoo from leaving her room. Friends started noticing her erratic behavior as well.
7/17/15 Quartz: “The complicated relationship between Asian Americans and affirmative action”
by Lauren Gurley
The second problem was a practical one. Technically, all three options—white, Asian, both—were truthful. In the ruthless competition that is college admissions, prospective students will often do anything they can to increase their chances of admission, and I found myself wondering if selecting white was more strategic than Asian. According to a 2005 Princeton University study that measured how race effects admissions decisions, Asians lost the equivalent of 50 SAT points while African-Americans and Latinos gained 230 and 165 SAT points, respectively.
7/9/15 Forbes: “Stereotyping Asian-Americans: Harvard Calls It ‘Diversity’ But It’s More Like Racial Balancing”
by YuKong Zhao
While Harvard University says it champions diversity, its real focus is on racial balancing.
Each year, many Asian-American students with top SAT scores and GPAs who demonstrate excellent leadership skills (plus countless awards) are unjustifiably rejected by Harvard and other Ivy League schools. Asian-American admission rates at these universities have remained around 14-18% for the past 20 years, while during that same time period, the percentage of Asian-Americans between the ages of 18 and 21 almost doubled.
7/8/15 Wall Street Journal: “Harvard’s Discrimination Dodge; The Obama Administration dismisses a bias complaint by Asian-Americans”
Harvard University is looking for legal cover to justify discriminating against Asian-Americans, and it has an ally in Washington. The Education Department on Tuesday said it had dismissed a complaint from 64 organizations alleging that Harvard uses de facto quotas to limit Asian-Americans on campus.
The percentage of Asian-American students at Harvard and other elite universities has held suspiciously steady for two decades at about 18%, while the number of college-age Asian-Americans has increased rapidly. In May the coalition asked the civil-rights arms of the Education and Justice Departments to investigate why Asian-Americans, who make up about 5% of the population but earn an estimated 30% of National Merit semifinalist honors, aren’t accepted to Harvard in numbers that reflect these qualifications.
The Department cited pending litigation as grounds for dismissal, and the only such suit is one against Harvard and the University of North Carolina filed in November by Students for Fair Admissions. This sounds reasonable, but wait. Harvard and UNC’s lawyers this week filed motions to halt the lawsuits until the Supreme Court reconsiders race-based admissions next term in Fisher v. University of Texas. That ruling won’t surface until 2016, and Harvard’s strategy is to drag out inquiries in hopes the Court blesses race-based admissions.
Yet Harvard’s hall pass from Education is a reason for the Supremes to strike down racial preferences—definitively. The Court stopped short in 2013 when it first ruled in Fisher, a case involving a white woman denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin. Justice Anthony Kennedy carved out a murky three-prong threshold for racial preferences, rather than overturning the 2003 decision Grutter v. Bollinger that sanctioned the use of race as a “plus” factor. Colleges treated Justice Kennedy’s standard the way students look at “suggested reading” on a syllabus; they ignored it.
A similarly narrow ruling next year could give Harvard and other top schools license to maintain de facto quotas. Asian-Americans need to score 140 points higher on the SAT than white students to be considered equal applicants on paper, and 450 points higher than African-Americans, according to independent research cited in the complaint.
Meantime, the Asian-American coalition says it will continue to push back, potentially broadening the complaint. Quota-like admissions also seem to exist at Yale, Princeton and elsewhere, and the feds won’t have litigation as an excuse to look the other way. But if the Obama Administration finds another excuse, as it probably will, Asian-Americans will need the Supreme Court to end their exclusion.
7/7/15 Bloomberg: “Education Department Dismisses Harvard Asian-American Discrimination Complaint”
by Janet Lorin
The U.S. Education Department dismissed a complaint against Harvard University alleging discrimination against Asian-American applicants in undergraduate admissions because a similar case is pending in federal court.
7/2/15 CNN: “Do Asian students face too much pressure?”
By Jeff Yang
They called Sara Kim the “Genius Girl.”
She was the prodigy whose academic prowess, perfect SATs and otherworldly STEM skills led first to the equivalent of a bidding war between Harvard and Stanford, and then to an unprecedented proposal in which Kim would be allowed to attend each school for two years before choosing the one from which she’d graduate. And add to that: Harvard enlisted no other than billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to try to recruit her to its campus.
And then, as suddenly as it erupted, the story imploded.
Harvard and Stanford declared that no such admission offer had been made, and that in fact Kim had not been accepted to either school.
6/24/15 observer.com: “Asian-Americans Are Indeed Getting Screwed by Harvard (But Not How They Think): The Secret Quotas in College Admissions”
By Steve Cohen
A coalition of 64 Asian-American groups has filed a complaint against Harvard for discriminating against Asian-American applicants. They’re right to assume there is a quota system at work. But they’re wrong that it is targeting Asian-Americans. In fact, it is discriminating in favor of Blacks and Hispanics.
The Coalition’s complaint is based on a false assumption: that admissions decisions at elite colleges are based on smarts, as represented by high SAT scores and grades. Yes, those metrics count a lot. But they come into play only after an applicant’s “tag”—his or her target group—is assigned. That’s because top schools are not looking just for the smartest kids, or for well-rounded kids; they’re looking to put together the well-rounded class. Kids who will fill key niches on campus.
6/19/15 Verdict/Justia: “Some Preliminary Thoughts on the Lawsuits and Protests by Asian Groups and Individuals Alleging Unfair Treatment by College Admissions Offices”
by Vikram David Amar (law professor)
It is too early to say where these litigations and investigations might ultimately lead, and whether any universities will be found to have violated the law; much will depend, of course, on the facts that are established in these various proceedings. I make no predictions and express no views as to the appropriate outcomes of these disputes. But even at this early stage, it is appropriate to correct some fallacies of law and logic that have been expressed by various critics of the individuals and groups who have been raising complaints. In the space below, I identify and attempt to debunk three flawed criticisms in particular.
6/15/15 Reuters: “Is Harvard really discriminating against Asian applicants?
An investigation reveals a broader agenda behind a recent lawsuit against Harvard”
In recent months, Harvard University has come under attack in court for allegedly limiting the number of Asian-American students it admits. A Reuters examination reveals how the lawsuit brought in their name arose from a broader goal: upending a nearly 40-year-old Supreme Court decision that has primarily helped blacks and Hispanics.
6/10/15 Pope Center: “College Is Not a Theater”
By George Leef
Starting back in the 1970s, officials at America’s more selective colleges and universities began using racial preferences to increase the percentages of certain minority group students on campus. Preferences forcertain groups, however, also means preferences against others.
Early in the last century, some of the top universities had a quota for Jewish students. Harvard, for example, capped their number because officials didn’t want to risk upsetting Boston traditionalists who might be disturbed to see Harvard become “too Jewish.” It didn’t matter that many of the Jewish students were academically superior to other applicants—officials just didn’t want to have too many.
These days, the un-preferred group is students of Asian ancestry. Rather than merely accepting that as their sacrifice for good educational policy, many Asian-Americans (how distressing is the imperative of putting individuals into hyphenated groups!) are now battling against the double standards that make it much harder for them to gain admission into the nation’s most prestigious schools.
Rejected Perfect ACT Scorer Michael Wang Files Complaint With US Department Of Ed Alleging Ivy League Schools Discriminate Against Asian-Americans
High school senior Michael Wang thought he was set: a perfect ACT score, 13 Advanced Placement courses, and over a 4.0 weighted GPA. So in 2013, when he was rejected from every Ivy League school – except for the University of Pennslyvania – and Stanford, he was convinced that as an Asian-American, the universities wwere discriminating against him.
6/9/15 Los Angeles Times: “Op-Ed The truth about ‘holistic’ college admissions”
By Sara Harberson
I worked in admissions at the University of Pennsylvania and at Franklin & Marshall College, and I can tell you something about what goes on. Elite universities — public and private — practice what is called “holistic admissions,” a policy based on the idea that a test score or GPA does not completely reflect who a student is and what he or she can bring to a college community. It allows a college to factor in a student’s background, challenges overcome, extracurricular involvement, letters of recommendation, special talents, writing ability and many other criteria. Private schools and many public universities can include race among the characteristics they consider, as long as they don’t apply racial quotas.
Has holistic admissions become a guise for allowing cultural and even racial biases to dictate the admissions process? To some degree, yes.
A tag is the proverbial golden ticket for a student applying to an elite institution. A tag identifies a student as a high priority for the institution. Typically students with tags are recruited athletes, children of alumni, children of donors or potential donors, or students who are connected to the well connected. The lack of a tag can hinder an otherwise strong, high-achieving student. Asian American students typically don’t have these tags.
On June 8, 2015, U.S. Representatives Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) publicly released their letter to the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice concerning the Administrative Complaint filed by over 60 Asian-American groups against Harvard for its discrimination against Asian American applicants.
6/5/15 Wall Street Journal: “Harvard’s Chinese Exclusion Act: An immigrant businessman explains his legal challenge to racial quotas that keep Asian-Americans out of elite colleges”
By Kate Bachelder
Getting into Harvard is tough enough: Every year come the stories about applicants who built toilets in developing countries, performed groundbreaking lunar research, or won national fencing competitions, whatever it takes to edge out the competition. So you can imagine that the 52-year-old Florida businessman and author Yukong Zhao is incensed that gaining admission may be even harder for his children—because of their race.
“It’s not a political issue,” he says. “It’s a civil-rights issue.”
Mr. Zhao helped organize 64 groups that last month asked the Education Department to investigate Harvard University for discriminating against Asian-Americans in admissions. The allegation is that Harvard is holding Asian-Americans to higher standards to keep them from growing as a percentage of the student body. The complaint, filed also with the Justice Department, follows a lawsuit against the university last fall by the nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions.
First, a few facts. Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population, and the share of college-age Asian-Americans climbed to 5.1% in 2011 from 3% in 1990. Yet according to independent research cited in the complaint, members of this 5% make up roughly 30% of National Merit semifinalists, a distinction earned by high-school students based on PSAT scores. Asian-American students seem to win a similar share of the Education Department’s Presidential Scholar awards, “one of the nation’s highest honors for high-school students,” as the website puts it. By any standard, Asian-Americans have made remarkable gains since 1950. They constituted 0.2% of the U.S. population then, due in part to the legacy of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.
6/2/15 Breitbart.com: “Asian-American Files Complaint Against Ivy League Schools, Alleges Discrimination”
by William Bigelow
In another telling hint that universities are discriminating against Asian-Americans, Michael Wang, who notched a perfect ACT score, a 2230 SAT, a 4.67 weighted grade point average and 13 Advanced Placement courses on his resume, was rejected by seven Ivy League universities and Stanford in 2013. The only Ivy League school to accept him was the University of Pennsylvania.
Wang filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, charging Yale, Stanford, and Princeton with discrimination. In May, roughly 60 Asian-American groups filed a lawsuit against Harvard charging Harvard and other Ivy League schools with using racial quotas to lock out Asian-Americans. Another group, Students for Fair Admissions, filed suits against Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, charging them with racial discrimination against Asian-Americans. The Wall Street Journal wrote a piece describing Asian-Americans as “The New Jews of Harvard Admissions.”
6/1/15 Business Insider: “A perfect ACT score couldn’t get this student into Yale, Princeton, or Stanford, and he says it’s because he’s Asian-American”
by Abby Jackson
With a perfect ACT score and 13 Advanced Placement courses under his belt, Michael Wang applied to seven Ivy League universities and Stanford in 2013.
An Asian-American, Wang suspected his race might work against him. But he was still shocked when he was rejected by Stanford and every Ivy League school except for the University of Pennsylvania.
6/1/15 Boston Globe: “To get into elite colleges, some advised to ‘appear less Asian’; As lawsuits allege racial quotas at elite colleges, high-achieving applicants call on consultants to help win admission — and receive guidance on minimizing their ethnicity”
By Bella English
Brian Taylor is director of Ivy Coach, a Manhattan company that advises families on how to get their students into elite colleges. A number of his clients are Asian American, and Taylor is frank about his strategy for them.
“While it is controversial, this is what we do,’’ he says. “We will make them appear less Asian when they apply.”
5/25/15 UCLA Daily Bruin: “Letter to the Editor: Daily Bruin column distorts Asian American views on affirmative action”
by Vijay Ingam
I am writing in response to Arthur Wang’s article concerning Asian American opinions on affirmative action. Mr. Wang’s article incorrectly surmises that Asian Americans support affirmative action, based on biased polling and the opinions of left-leaning advocacy groups.
I worked in market research, and I know how easy it is to draw incorrect conclusions based on deceptive survey data. I have written a blog post contesting UC Riverside professor Karthick Ramakrishnan’s conclusions, as did the Los Angeles Times. The 135 organizations that Mr. Wang considers more representative of Asian American views are left-wing advocacy groups. Neither the polls nor the groups Wang cites are unbiased representatives of Asian American opinion.
The affirmative action issue touches me personally because in 1999, I posed as black in my application to medical school – I am Indian-American – and gained admission at Saint Louis University, despite my low college GPA. Affirmative action impacts the lives of thousands of UCLA graduates who apply to graduate schools every year. According to figures published by the American Association of Medical Colleges, if I did the same thing and applied to medical school as black instead of Asian between 2013 and 2015, with my GPA of 3.1 and Medical College Admission Test score of 31, I would have increased my chances of admission from 17 percent to 74 percent.
The undeniable statistical fact is that affirmative action is racial discrimination in admissions against Asians and whites.
The California State Legislature understood that it declined to overturn Proposition 209 because of the opposition by Asian Americans.
Vijay Jojo Chokal-Ingam
5/24/15 The Guardian: “Why are so many Asian Americans missing out on Ivy League schools?”
by Nicky Woolf
Experts say elite universities in the US are discriminating against Asian American candidates almost wholesale. This month, a coalition of 64 Asian American associations and civil rights groups, supported by students including Wang, filed a lawsuit against Harvard for what it sees as discriminatory admissions practices.
The complaint, which was filed on 15 May, alleges that Asian Americans, “because of their race, have been unfairly rejected by Harvard College because of such unlawful use of race in the admissions process”.
According to Daniel Golden, the author of The Price of Admission: How America’s Ruling Class Buys Its Way into Elite Colleges – and Who Gets Left Outside the Gates, SAT grades that would be perfectly adequate for a non-Asian student are colloquially called an “Asian fail”.
“The issue basically is that Asian Americans need better academic credentials than members of other groups to get into elite universities,” Golden said.
Edward Blum, president of Students for Fair Admissions, a group that fights for fairness in admissions processes and has a separate Harvard lawsuit pending, said that “at least 100” students who had been rejected from Harvard and other universities on the basis, he believed, of their race were on board with his group’s suit.
While the number of Asian American applicants to Harvard has almost tripled in the past two decades, Blum said, there were actually fewer Asian American students admitted to the university in 2012 than in 1992.
He said he had spoken to more than 700 students and parents, who “expressed their grave disappointment with Harvard and the other Ivy League schools when they see that their grades, their test scores, their athletic activities and their extracurricular activities are better and stronger than many of their classmates who are white, African American and Hispanic, who are admitted to the Ivy League schools whereas they are denied.”
“It’s a grave disappointment to this country for these young, often first-generation immigrant Asians to know that they have to do so much better than their classmates in order to be admitted to one of these competitive universities,” Blum said.
Both Blum and Golden compared the situation to that faced by Jewish prospective students in the first half of the 20th century.
“Jews were overrepresented in the student body compared to the population, but they were underrepresented compared to their academic credentials,” Golden said.
“Admissions officers in those days were more candid and said pretty clearly they felt it would be harmful to have too many Jews in the student body – I don’t think it’s all that different.
“And my feeling is,” he added, “some day people will look back and say, ‘How could we have let this discrimination against Asian Americans persist for so long?’”
5/22/15 Chicago Tribune: “Harvard’s odd quota on Asian-Americans”
by Steve Chapman
Asian-Americans are one of the nation’s most astonishing success stories. In 1960, they accounted for less than 1 percent of the U.S. population but had a rich history of persecution — from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Back then, no one could have imagined what lay ahead.
Today, nearly 5 percent of Americans have Asian ancestry, tracing to countries from India to Japan. The Pew Research Center reports that they are “the highest-income, best-educated and fastest-growing racial group in the United States.”
They are over-represented in fields like medicine, engineering and computer science. In Silicon Valley, they hold half of the tech jobs. For immigrants once associated with menial or subservient work, the transformation has been titanic.
But some things have stayed the same — such as the representation of Asian-Americans at Harvard, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious university. In 1992, they made up 19.1 percent of the undergraduate student body. In 2013, they made up 18 percent.
During the same period, the share of Asian-Americans in the U.S. population rose sharply, and their share in the Harvard applicant pool doubled. About 30 percent of those admitted, by comparison, are “legacies” — students whose notable virtue is carrying the DNA of Harvard grads.
Today, according to a survey by The Harvard Crimson, Asian-American freshmen had higher SAT scores than any other ethnic group. It’s not enough for them to be as good as everyone else: To get in, they have to be considerably better.
The problem seems to be that, in the absence of measures to limit their representation, there would just be too many Asian-Americans. So, from all outward appearances, Harvard has a quota to prevent that unwanted result.
Not all elite universities follow suit. At the California Institute of Technology, reported Ron Unz in The American Conservative magazine, Asian-Americans are now nearly 40 percent of the student body. Likewise at the University of California at Berkeley, where racial preferences are against state law. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the figure is 30 percent.
5/19/15 Wall Street Journal: “The New Jews of Harvard Admissions: Asian-Americans are rebelling over evidence that they are held to a much higher standard, but elite colleges deny using quotas”
By Jason L. Riley
Last year’s Supreme Court decision upholding Michigan’s ban on racial preferences in public-university admissions included a passionate dissent by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who argued that such policies benefit “racial minorities,” by which she means blacks and Hispanics. Nowhere in Justice Sotomayor’s 58-page opinion will you find any mention of how affirmative action affects Asian-Americans, the fastest-growing racial group in the country. The omission is common among defenders of campus double standards for favored minorities, and it’s starting to annoy an increasing number of Asian-Americans. This is progress.
A coalition of more than 60 Chinese, Indian, Korean and Pakistani organizations is asking the U.S. departments of Justice and Education to investigate possible racial bias in undergraduate admissions at Harvard. The complaint announced on Friday, echoing a lawsuit filed by another group in November, accuses Harvard and other elite institutions of holding Asian-Americans to far higher standards than other applicants, a practice used to limit the number of Jewish students at Ivy League schools in the first half of the 20th century.
Citing several academic studies, the complaint notes that Asians have some of the highest academic credentials but the lowest acceptance rates at the nation’s top schools, a result that the coalition attributes to “just-for-Asians admissions standards that impose unfair and illegal burdens on Asian-American college applicants.” A 2009 paper by Princeton sociologists Thomas J. Espenshade and Alexandria Walton Radford found that “Asian-Americans have the lowest acceptance rate for each SAT test score bracket, having to score on average approximately 140 points higher than a white student, 270 points higher than a Hispanic student and 450 points higher than a black student on the SAT to be on equal footing.”
Chunyan Li, a professor of accounting at Pace University and a coalition organizer of the administrative complaint, said: “In the past 20 years our population has doubled,” she said, but the percentage of Asians admitted to elite schools “has been capped artificially low.”
There is strong evidence that racial balance is the highest priority at schools like Harvard, and holistic admissions are used to obscure the racial bean-counting necessary to obtain the desired racial mix. At the California Institute of Technology, a selective private college that uses color-blind admissions, Asian enrollment grew steadily to 42.5% in 2013 from 29.8% two decades earlier, reflecting the nation’s growing Asian population. At Harvard, Asian enrollment consistently remained between 14.3% and 18.4%. Harvard would have us believe that this remarkable consistency in the percentages of Asian (and other racial and ethnic groups) on campus has been achieved without quotas.
In 1995 Asian freshman enrollment at the University of California, Berkeley, stood at 37%. The next year California made it illegal for state universities to consider race in admissions, and inside of a decade Berkeley’s freshman class was nearly 47% Asian. UCLA experienced a similar spike in Asian undergrads over the same period, suggesting that the California schools had been doing what Harvard allegedly is still doing.
Last year the California legislature moved to reverse the ban on race-based admissions, but Asian-American lawmakers, primarily at the urging of their Asian constituents, pushed back hard. The legislative leadership dropped the matter. Ms. Li said the episode alerted many of her fellow activists: “That opened up many people’s eyes. They saw it as going backward. These race-based admissions policies pit one group against another.”
5/19/15 Washington Post: “Which political leader expressed concern about California universities ‘fill[ing] their entire freshman classes with nothing but Asian Americans’”
By Eugene Volokh
The answer is President Bill Clinton, in 1995, when Prop. 209 was being discussed in California. Prop. 209, which was enacted the following year, banned race and sex preferences in public education, employment, and contracting. From Leon Rennert [Bee Washington Bureau Chief], Sacramento Bee, April 7, 1995, at A1 (quoting an exclusive interview with The Bee):
“Our diversity is our great strength,” [President Clinton] declared. “If a university says, ‘Look, we’re only going to let in qualified people, but we think that the life of the university will be strengthened if we had different kinds of people,’ then I think that’s a legitimate thing.”
Otherwise, he added, “there are universities in California that could fill their entire freshman classes with nothing but Asian Americans.”
I was reminded of this by the news about Asian-American groups filing a complaint with the Justice Department and the Department of Education, claiming that Harvard is discriminating against Asians in admissions (and discriminating against them in favor of whites, not just engaging in the more familiar preferential treatment of black and Hispanic applicants). I don’t know whether the factual allegations against Harvard are correct — but if some people are shocked to imagine that Harvard would do such a thing, it’s worth noting how well such discrimination fits in the overall rhetoric of “diversity” and “campuses that look like America,” and how openly some liberal leaders have expressed concerns about race-neutral admissions leading to “too many Asians.”
Likewise, here’s a quote from Aug. 10, 1995, from Richard Der, executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, arguing that Asians should support race-based university admissions preferences:
If Asian-Americans want to go to segregated schools where students are mostly Asian, then they should enroll in universities in Asia.
And here’s liberal CNN’s “Crossfire” co-host Bob Beckel, questioning Abigail Thernstrom (an opponent of race preferences in university admissions) on May 25, 1997:
You just mentioned Asians — let’s assume for a moment — who are doing much better in their scoring than average than even whites are. If merit — this things, merit, which is most grades and tests are what is used here, would you like to see these UCLA Law School 80 percent Asian? Because at the rate it is going, let me just give you the percentages. The rate it’s going, an increase of 80 students by the year 2007, 80 percent of the UCLA Law School will be Asian. Will that make you happy?
Now both of these quotes are somewhat hyperbolic — though universities of course could fill their freshman classes with Asian Americans, race-blind admissions would not lead to such an outcome, and UCLA School of Law is not 80 percent Asian, even though race preferences in admission have been illegal in California for 20 years. But if 80 percent of the law school became Asian, I would be no more or less happy than I am now. I don’t expect universities to “look like America” or “look like California,” just as I don’t expect my colleagues (who are disproportionately Jewish, as is the case at many law schools) to “worship like California.” Nor do I think that whatever benefits might be provided by the “diversity” that stems from more representation of certain racial groups exceed the very grave costs that are imposed by racial discrimination in admissions, whether the discrimination is against Asians, whites, blacks, Hispanics, or anyone else.
On the other hand, if 80 percent of my law school became Asian because Asians were doing so well on their grades and on tests, I — as a parent, not a teacher — would ask myself: How did this happen? What are Asian parents and children doing that is letting them succeed so well? And how can my children and I do the same?
Eugene Volokh teaches free speech law, religious freedom law, church-state relations law, a First Amendment Amicus Brief Clinic, and tort law, at UCLA School of Law, where he has also often taught copyright law, criminal law, and a seminar on firearms regulation policy.
5/18/15 Associated Press: Duke professor criticized for comments says it is not racist to compare blacks, Asians
By Jonathan Drew
Raleigh, N.C. — A Duke University professor criticized for an online post comparing blacks and Asians said Monday that it’s not racist to discuss what he sees as differences in how the groups have performed in the U.S. over the past few decades.
Political science professor Jerry Hough has been sharply criticized for a response he posted in the online comments section of the New York Times editorial “How Racism Doomed Baltimore,” dated May 9. The 80-year-old professor, who is white, has been on an unrelated academic leave for the past school year.
In his online comments, Hough wrote that Asians have been described as “yellow races” and faced discrimination in 1965 at least as bad as blacks experienced. Of Asian-Americans, he wrote: “They didn’t feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard.”
The posting goes on to say: “I am a professor at Duke University. Every Asian student has a very simple old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration. Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for integration.”
5/15/15 Wall Street Journal: “Harvard Accused of Bias Against Asian-Americans; Complaint alleges university sets higher bar for applicants to limit Asian enrollment”
By Douglas Belkin
A complaint Friday alleged that Harvard University discriminates against Asian-American applicants by setting a higher bar for admissions than that faced by other groups.
The complaint, filed by a coalition of 64 organizations, says the university has set quotas to keep the numbers of Asian-American students significantly lower than the quality of their applications merits. It cites third-party academic research on the SAT exam showing that Asian-Americans have to score on average about 140 points higher than white students, 270 points higher than Hispanic students and 450 points higher than African-American students to equal their chances of gaining admission to Harvard. The exam is scored on a 2400-point scale.
The complaint was filed with the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights.
Robert Iuliano, Harvard’s general counsel, said the percentage of Asian-American students admitted to the undergraduate school rose to 21% from less than 18% in the past decade.
But the group that filed the complaint said that percentage should be much higher given the increasing numbers of Asian-American students that apply.
Yukong Zhao, a 52-year-old Chinese-American author who helped organize the coalition, said there are longtime stereotypes of Asian applicants’ being “not creative enough or risk-taking enough, but that’s not true. Nearly half of the tech start-ups in the country were started by Asian-Americans. Every one is a great example of creativity, and risk-taking and leadership.”
The complaint argues that elite schools “that use race-neutral admissions” have far higher Asian-American enrollment than Harvard. At California Institute of Technology, for instance, about 40% of undergraduates are Asian-American, about twice that at Harvard.
The complaint against Harvard: http://chronicle.com/items/biz/pdf/Final%20Aisan%20Complaint%20Harvard%20Document%2020150515.pdf
5/15/15 Boston Globe: “Harvard faces bias complaint from Asian-American groups”
By Janet Lorin
A coalition of more than 60 Asian-American groups filed a federal discrimination complaint against Harvard University, claiming racial bias in undergraduate admissions.
Asian-American students with almost perfect college entrance-exam scores, top 1 percent grade-point averages, academic awards and leadership positions are more likely to be rejected than similar applicants of other races, according to their administrative complaint, filed Friday with the US Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights. Harvard denies any discrimination.
Their complaint, also filed with the US Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, reflects longstanding concern among academically high-performing Asian-Americans that they are held to a higher admissions standard at elite US colleges. While they represent about 6 percent of the US population and 21 percent of students admitted to Harvard’s freshman class this fall, they say they are being subjected to the kind of quotas that kept many Jews out of the same institutions in the first half of the 20th century.
Last year, Asian-Americans had the highest mean scores of any racial group on the math and writing sections of the SAT college entrance exam, according to the College Board, the New York nonprofit that administers the exam. On the reading section, they outscore all but white students, whom they lagged only slightly on average. They also win more than their share of academic competitions, the complaint said.
The coalition cited research from a 2009 book co-authored by Thomas Espenshade, an economist and senior scholar at the office of Population Research at Princeton University.
If all other credentials are equal, Asian-Americans need to score 140 points more than whites, 270 points higher than Hispanics, and 450 points above African-Americans out of a maximum 1,600 on the math and reading SAT to have the same chance of admission to a private college, the book found.
5/14/15 Orange County Weekly: “Activists: Harvard Discriminates Against Asian-American Students in Admissions Process”
By Kristine Hoang
According to enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the percentage of Asian-Americans who enrolled at Harvard decreased by over 50 percent over the last two decades even though the Asian-American population nearly doubled between 1992 and 2011. At the same time, Asian-American enrollment at the California Institute of Technology, which is also highly selective, has grown proportionally with the Asian-American population growth.
Research by Thomas J. Espenshade, Senior Scholar and Sociology professor at Princeton University, suggests that if race wasn’t considered in university admissions, Asian applicants would be the “biggest winners.” He writes:
Asian candidates are at a disadvantage in admission compared to their white, African-American, and Hispanic counterpart. Removing this disadvantage at the same time preferences for African Americans and Hispanics are eliminated results in a significant gain in the acceptance rate for Asian students–from 17.6 percent to 23.4 percent. Asians, who comprised 29.5 percent of total applicants in 1997, would make up 31.5 percent of accepted students in the simulation, compared with an actual proportion of 23.7 percent.
5/7/15 PRNewswire-USNewswire: “50+ Asian-American Organizations Challenge Harvard’s Discrimination”
On Friday May 15, 2015, leaders and representatives of more than 50 Asian American Organizations will be holding a press conference in The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to announce an Administrative Complaint against Harvard University regarding its discriminatory admission practices against Asian American applicants.
4/1/15 Harvard Crimson: “Harvard Accepts Record-Low 5.3 Percent of Applicants to Class of 2019”
By Daphne C. Thompson
A record-low 5.3 percent of applicants were offered admission to Harvard College’s Class of 2019, when the University announced on Tuesday that it had accepted 1,990 of 37,305 applicants.
The pool of admitted students also represents small increases in diversity, with 13.3 percent and 12.1 percent of admitted students identifying as Latino and African American, respectively. Twenty-one percent of admitted students identify as Asian American, up from 19.7 percent last year. Two percent identify as Native American or Native Hawaiian.
The percentage of accepted international students increased slightly to 10.8 percent, up from 10.5 percent of students admitted to the Class of 2018, and 7.7 percent of accepted students are U.S. dual citizens.
3/31/15 Daily Princetonian: “U. offers admission to 6.99 percent of applicants for Class of 2019”
BY Do-Hyeong Myeong
The University has offered admission to 1,908 students, or 6.99 percent, of the 27,290 applicants for the Class of 2019.
Of the 1,908 admitted students, 767 were admitted through the early action applications in December. The number of students admitted from regular admission was 1,141, and the acceptance rate for the regular admission applicants, including students who were deferred in early action, was around 4.9 percent, Rapelye said. The number of early applicants wsa 3,830.
Legacy students account for 10 percent of the admitted class. Sixty-one percent of the admitted students are from public schools, the same number as last year.
Fifteen percent will be the first in their family to attend college, an increase from last year’s 13.8 percent. This is the largest admitted group for first-generation college students.
International students make up 13 percent of the accepted students, representing 66 countries that include Ethiopia, Georgia, Romania and Trinidad and Tobago. This is an increase from last year’s 11.4 percent.
1/16/15: New York Times: “Students Gain Access to Files on Admission to Stanford”
By Richard Perez-Pena
Under a federal law that has been on the books for years, some Stanford students have asked the university for copies of their admission records, and the university says it has no choice but to comply, within 45 days. That means the written assessments that admissions officers gave of applicants, the numerical scores those officers assigned them on a range of factors and, in some cases, even the recommendation letters written by their high school teachers and counselors will all be turned over to the students, who can do what they choose with them.
10/23/14 Opposing Views: “Asian-American College Enrollment Creates An Interesting Problem”
By Chrysler Summer
Asian-Americans face a unique problem when it comes to college enrollments. While there is always a push, or at least talk of a push, for minority representation on elite college campuses, Asians and Asian-Americans are finding themselves the brunt of discrimination because they are over-represented on those campuses compared to their numbers in the general population. In a sense, they are being discriminated against for being too academicaly successful.
The percentage of Americans of Asian descent in the United States is 4.8 percent according to the 2010 Census. At UCLA Asians and Pacific Islanders account for 34.8% of the students. At Stanford they make up 24% of the student body. There is even a charge that the Ivy League schools have an unspoken “reverse quota” on Asian student enrollment, limiting the numbers of Asians and Asian Americans on their campuses so that the numbers are not too skewed. As it stands now, Asian-Americans account for 16.5 percent of Ivy League enrollment, still approximately four times their U.S. numbers. Of course, these schools all deny that they purposely limit Asian enrollment, but statistics seem to indicate otherwise.
10/14/14 “StreetTalk – Perspectives: Being Asian American at Harvard”
By Aizhan Shorman and Joe Choe
Students from the Asian & Pacific Islander community share their experiences about being Asian American at Harvard and getting involved with Asian American spaces on campus. Designed to promote solidarity among all Asian and Asian Americans, “Perspectives” was initiated and organized by Harvard students who identify as Asian American and Pacific Islander. The event was co-sponsored by various cultural, religious, and political groups on campus.
10/7/14 Harvard Crimson: “Dinner Event Focuses on Asian American Identity, Email Threat”
By Samuel Liu
The Harvard College Japan Initiative hosted a dinner with visiting professor of Japanese studies Christine R. Yano in Cabot House Living Room Monday. The group of roughly 20 students discussed Asian American identity and the racially charged death threat emailed to some Harvard affiliates last weekend, among other topics.
10/4/14 Boston Globe: “Harvard threat may have targeted Asians; Security tight but officials discount e-mails’s validity”
By Laura Crimaldi
Cambridge — An e-mail threatening violence against hundreds of people with ties to Harvard University appears to have targeted Asians, several people who received it said. But campus police believe the missive may not have been a credible threat, and a convoluted apology arrived Saturday evening from what appeared to be the same e-mail account.
The death threat, which was sent Friday afternoon, led to heightened security on the Ivy League campus Saturday and a student-sponsored event focused on the experiences of Asian-Americans at Harvard was postponed by organizers over concerns about safety.
9/24/14 Harvard Crimson: “Exploring Identity: The Asian American Experience at Harvard”
By Maia R. Silber
It is a Saturday night, and it is raining—two factors counting against attendance at the talk co-hosted by Harvard’s Asian American Brotherhood and Black Men’s Forum. But a surprising number of people have filtered through the double doors of Boylston Hall, filling the plush red chairs only vaguely oriented around an old-fashioned projector. Stragglers lean against the shade-less windows, their elbows forming perpendicular angles with the droplets pounding on the other side.
7/21/14 The American Bazaar: “For Asian American students battling discrimination in college admissions, now something more startling: ‘race-based grading’”
By Sujeet Rajan
New York: That Asian American students are discriminated against in admissions to Ivy League universities is a well-known fact. In the last few years, several cases and probes have come up which involve an Indian American or a Chinese American student filing a complaint against Harvard, Princeton, and Yale for non-admission despite being academically perfect, but overlooked.
In fact, Harvard’s treatment of Asian-American applicants had come under the spotlight as early as 1990, when stereotyping was found to be frequent amongst evaluators, such as this comment about one Asian-American candidate: “He’s quiet and, of course, wants to be a doctor,” according to a report by Bloomberg.
From the universities’ standpoint, it is not hard to see why they choose diversity – read ‘case by case selection’ as they may like to put it – and try and get as perfect a balance as possible in classrooms, without ruffling too many feathers: Asian American students and Whites would otherwise dominate classrooms, leaving most Black and the Hispanic students to be segregated in lesser known institutions.
A new report by Kevin Binversie, the Web Editor of Right Wisconsin, now throws up another facet of a US institution, which may mark a growing trend nationwide as the country slowly slips into becoming a non-Caucasian majority, with the Hispanic population growing in numbers rapidly.
According to Binversie’s report, the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-M) may indulge in ‘race-based grading’.
The report quotes from an Op-Ed piece written by Lee Hansen, a professor emeritus of economics at UW-M, for the John William Hope Pope Center for Higher Education, a North Carolina-based think tank, about the latest “diversity” plan. “Representational equity” is being applied to levels never before seen, analyzes Binversie.
Hansen’s report calls for “proportional participation of historically underrepresented racial-ethnic groups at all levels of an institution, including high status special programs, high-demand majors, and in the distribution of grades.”
That of course, is exactly what would lead to further discrimination against deserving Asian American and White students who score well above other students in SAT and subject-wise exams, in an effort to gain admission into schools of their choice.
According to Binversie, Hansen’s report means that “professors, instead of just awarding the grade that each student earns, would apparently have to adjust them so that academically weaker, “historically underrepresented racial/ethnic” students perform at the same level and receive the same grades as academically stronger students.”
This, as Binversie rightly points out, would mean even greater expenditures on special tutoring for weaker targeted minority students.
“It is also likely to trigger a new outbreak of grade inflation, as professors find out that they can avoid trouble over “inequitable” grade distributions by giving every student a high grade.” He questions UW-M at the end of the report: “are they still an institute of higher learning, or an institute of higher diversity?”
A 2012 report by Bloomberg pointed out that studies have shown that Asian-American applicants have to outperform their counterparts from other backgrounds on the SAT to gain entry to elite universities.
That report also informed that Asian-Americans admitted to the UW-M in 2008 had a median math and reading SAT score of 1370 out of 1600, compared to 1340 for whites, 1250 for Hispanics, and 1190 for blacks, citing a 2011 study by the Center for Equal Opportunity, a Falls Church, Virginia-based nonprofit group that opposes racial preferences in college admissions.
“Clearly, both whites and Asian-Americans are discriminated against vis a vis African-Americans and Latinos,” Roger Clegg, the center’s president, was quoted as saying in that report. “At some of the more selective schools, Asians are also discriminated against vis a vis whites.”
According to “No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal,” a 2009 book co-written by Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade, Asian-Americans need to score 140 points more than whites, 270 points higher than Hispanics, and 450 points above African-Americans out of a maximum 1600 on the math and reading SAT to have the same chance of admission to a private college.
Another Bloomberg report also said that budget-strapped state schools such as the University of California at San Diego are reducing enrollment of Asian- Americans to make room for international students from China who pay almost twice the tuition of in-state residents.
7/17/14 San Jose Mercury News: “Asian-Americans and SCA-5: Here’s why many oppose it”
By Michael Wang
For high school students aiming to attend a top college, July is filled with exam prep, community service, lab work, internships, music and athletic camps. With Stanford taking only 5.1 percent of applicants and Yale just 7.1 percent, the odds are so uncertain that no effort is spared to build a competitive profile.
Applying to college is an anxiety-filled rite-of-passage for students and parents alike. For Asian-American families, however, the anxiety is mixed with dread. They know that their race will be used against them in admissions, and there is nothing they can do but over prepare.
I experienced this when I applied last year. I grew up in a Chinese-American family in Union City, where my parents are educators and encouraged me to pursue my interests broadly. I sing and play the piano. My choir performed at the San Francisco Opera and President Obama’s first inauguration.
I founded the math club at my high school, James Logan, and debated in tournaments throughout the West Coast. I took the most challenging classes in school and graduated in the top 0.5 percent of my class. I got a perfect 36 on the ACT and 2230 on the SAT. I wanted to study international relations and become an ambassador.
I was rejected by Yale, Princeton and Stanford.
My disappointment turned into anger when I learned that Asian-Americans are being held to higher admissions standards by the selective schools. We have been the fastest growing minority group in America, and yet our presence on some Ivy League campuses has declined in the last 20 years.
A 2009 study found that Asian-Americans were admitted at the lowest rate of any racial group. For Asian-American applicants to have an equal chance of getting into an elite private college, we had to score 140 points higher than whites on the SATs, 270 points higher than Latinos and 310 points higher than blacks.
Here in California, Asian-Americans constitute 19 percent of Stanford’s undergraduates compared to 39 percent at UC Berkeley and 45 percent at UC San Diego. The disparity exists because of the law. In 1996, California voters adopted Proposition 209, which banned racial preferences in public education.
In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that schools like Stanford that are not subject to Proposition 209 may give minority applicants a “race plus-factor” to boost their chances of getting in. The High Court acknowledged that the practice deviates from the equal protection of the laws but is permissible for 25 years to enhance campus diversity.
Though a majority of Asian-Americans opposed Proposition 209, many now appreciate the fairness of race-blindness. We have been driven to this understanding because the race-plus factor, which is supposed to help increase black, Latino and Native American enrollment, is being used as a minus-factor against us.
Whatever unequal treatment we may encounter elsewhere, we felt assured that the UC schools will not disadvantage us — that is, until this January, when the State Senate passed Senate Constitutional Amendment No. 5 (SCA-5).
The bill proposed to repeal Proposition 209 and allow the UC schools to use racial preferences. Our community reacted with fury at the Asian-American senators who supported SCA-5 and forced them to have the measure tabled.
The reaction surprised many but not families like mine and countless others whose grievances have been building for years.
Last June, I filed complaints against Yale, Princeton and Stanford with the U.S. Department of Education. This April, the Supreme Court upheld voter initiatives that ban racial preferences. I hope I have a chance to present my case.
Michael Wang of Union City is a sophomore at Williams College. He wrote this for this newspaper.