Statistics from the 2017 America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report for 2015-16 freshman class.
|School||% accepted||total applicants||number accepted||% Asian-Am. in student body|
Dropped from 30% in 1993 to 15% in 2016. Stop donating.
|U. of Chicago||8.44||30,069||2,521||17|
|U.S. Naval Academy||8.53||16,101||1,373||7|
|U.S. Military Academy||10.15||14,635||1,486||6|
|U. of Pennsylvania||10.16||37,268||3,787||20|
*decrease from prior year
10/20/17 Georgetown Hoya: EDITORIAL: Refocus Admissions on Merit
by Editorial Board
As admissions season gets underway, nearly 20,000 hopeful students will vie for a spot in the Georgetown University Class of 2022. Last year, a mere 15.4 percent of the 21,465 applicants were accepted.
In this admissions cycle, Georgetown should evaluate applicants on their merit alone by ceasing the practice of race-based affirmative action in its admissions process. This practice not only discriminates against particular demographics of students, specifically against fully qualified Asian students, but also perpetuates racist attitudes toward Asians.
This editorial board believes that all students deserve a fair chance to be admitted to competitive universities based only on their merit as applicants.
Affirmative action in university admissions was first implemented in the 1960s to redress the significant disadvantages that minority students often faced as a result of centuries of starkly discriminatory policies. Nevertheless, lifting up some minority groups by disadvantaging others does not achieve the idea of racial justice that this policy set out to accomplish.
In August, it was reported that the Department of Justice would begin investigating affirmative action policies at universities. It is widely believed this investigation will focus on a lawsuit against Harvard University that alleges discrimination against Asian-Americans under Harvard’s affirmative action policies.
The topic of affirmative action has also been extensively debated at the Supreme Court level. Most recently, the 2016 Fisher v. University of Texas case held that the University of Texas at Austin’s use of race-based affirmative action as part of a holistic assessment was acceptable as long as it supported educational diversity.
But empirical data demonstrates this discrimination against Asian-American students. A study conducted by Princeton University shows that applicants of comparable qualifications who identify as Asian must score 140 points higher on the SAT than white applicants to have the same chance of admission to private colleges, as The New York Times reported.
Proponents of affirmative action argue that this disparity is a result of universities’ desire to maintain holistic and diverse classes, which requires consideration of more than just academic ability.
However, the blanket discrimination against Asian-American students in the admissions process ignores the enormous diversity within this label. This diversity undermines the argument that affirmative action is intended to foster greater diversity in universities.
Looking past the label of “Asian-American,” it becomes evident that there are historically disadvantaged populations in the group itself. Thirty percent of all Americans over the age of 25 have a bachelor’s degree, according to the Pew Research Center. While 72 percent of Indian-Americans have a bachelor’s degree or a higher degree, the numbers are anemic for Laotian-Americans, at 16 percent, and Bhutanese-Americans, at 9 percent, the center found.
Moreover, as The New Yorker explains, the diverse class argument would only be plausible if Asian-American applicants overall were significantly less likely than other applicants to have the particular, often abstract, nonacademic qualities that universities look for, such as leadership and a willingness to take initiative. This notion only serves to perpetuate the racist myth of the “model minority,” which uniformly depicts all Asian-American students as academically achieving individuals who are stunted in other areas.
In addition, a comparison of Asian-American enrollment at universities before and after they ceased affirmative action policies indicates that the policy disproportionately hurt this group of students, as is clear from the work of David Colburn, a professor and former provost at the University of Florida.
Colburn’s work found that at selective public universities that ended race-based affirmative action, such as the University of Florida and the University of California, Berkeley, the proportion of Asian Americans increased dramatically after the policy’s termination.
For example, the proportion of Asian American freshmen at Berkeley rose to from 37.3 percent in 1995 to 46.6 percent in 2005. California barred affirmative action in university admissions processes in 1996.
As is empirically evident, affirmative action discriminates against Asian-Americans. The system of college admissions masks itself as a meritocracy but in practice is suppressing a historically marginalized minority group in the name of racial justice.
Those who champion affirmative action in the name of racial justice fail to recognize that discrimination against one minority group to elevate other groups is not an acceptable means to an end; as such, race-based affirmative action must end.
10/13/17 Fox News: “Is Harvard racist? If you’re Asian-American, their admission policies just might be”
10/4/17 Business Insider: “The Department of Justice is allegedly investigating Harvard’s admissions practices”
8/29/17 The College Fix: “Asian-American groups blast Democrats for ‘bigoted intervention’ in Harvard admission inquiry”
8/26/17 Asia Times: “College admissions: Two views of the US Justice Department probe of Harvard University’s policy toward Asian Americans”
By Doug Tsuruoka
S.B. Woo debates John Yang
8/15/17 The Daily Caller: “Asian Americans Are Fighting For Our Own Educational Rights”
by Yunlei Yang (Board Member, Asian American Coalition for Education)
8/11/17 Above the Law: “As Asian Americans Become More Pivotal In The Affirmative Action Debate, Both Sides Weigh In: Two opposing viewpoints on affirmative action, from Cory Liu and Jenn Fang”
By Renwei Chung
8/11/17 Chicago Tribune: “Commentary: Asian-Americans are indeed treated unfairly in admissions, but the culprit is not affirmative action”
by Daniel Golden
8/9/17 New York Times Magazine: “What a Fraternity Hazing Death Revealed About the Painful Search for an Asian-American Identity: When Michael Deng, a college freshman, joined an Asian-American fraternity, he was looking for a sense of belonging and identity. Two months later he was dead”
By Jay Caspian Kang
8/8/17 Washington Post: “Harvard’s discrimination against Asian Americans must end”
By Edward Blum
8/8/17 The Federalist: “Race-Based Admissions Have Asian Students Hiding Their Ethnicity”
By Helen Raleigh
8/6/17 Wall Street Journal: “What Is Harvard Hiding? Evidence of bias against Asian-Americans deserves legal scrutiny”
By The Editorial Board
In 2015 a coalition of more than 60 Asian-American groups filed a complaint with the Justice Department Civil Rights Division that alleges admissions discrimination at Harvard University, and the details are striking. In 1993 about 20% of Harvard students were Asian-American, and that figure has barely budged over two decades, even as the Asian-American share of the U.S. population has grown rapidly. Harvard’s admitted class of 2021 is 22% Asian-American, according to data on the university’s website, and the numbers are roughly consistent at Princeton, Yale and other Ivy League schools.
Compare that with California, where a 1990s referendum banned the state’s public universities from considering race as an admissions factor. The share at University of California campuses at Berkeley and Los Angeles tops 30%, as the complaint notes. At the private California Institute of Technology, which by choice does not consider race as a factor, more than 40% of students were Asian-American in 2013, up from 26% in 1993.
Also notable is research on how much more competitive Asian-Americans must be to win entry into Harvard or other hallowed progressive halls. All else being equal, an Asian-American must score 140 points higher on the SAT than a white counterpart, 270 points higher than a Hispanic student, and 450 points higher than a black applicant, according to 2009 research from Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade and co-author Alexandria Walton Radford.
The Asian-American disparities look like evidence of de facto admissions quotas that the High Court has explicitly declared illegal.
A lawsuit from the nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions makes similar allegations against Harvard, and discovery will be instructive.
If colleges are enforcing quotas on qualified applicants merely because of their ethnicity, the term for that is familiar to progressive academics: institutional racism.
8/4/17 Los Angeles Times: “Asian Americans are divided after the Trump administration’s move on affirmative action; A 2009 study cited by affirmative action opponents found Asian Americans had to score 140 points higher on SAT exams to be on equal footing with whites in private university admissions”
by Jaweed Kaleem
In 2015, when 64 Asian American groups filed a complaint with the Department of Justice alleging that Harvard University illegally discriminated against Asian students in admissions, Joe Zhou had little hope it would go anywhere.
He had made the same allegation against Harvard in a lawsuit on behalf of his son, who had been denied admission despite near-perfect ACT and SAT scores, a 4.44 grade-point average, being named class valedictorian, and a resume that included teaching English in China and serving as captain of the varsity tennis team.
His lawsuit is making its way through a Massachusetts federal district court. His son, who is listed an an anonymous plaintiff in the lawsuit and who did not want his name used in this story, currently attends UC Berkeley.
Zhou, who is Chinese American, said he’s frequently heard complaints about admissions procedures from friends and families in his community.
“This will not help my son, who will graduate soon, but it could help Asian Americans for the next 200 years,” said Zhou, who is a board member of Students for Fair Admissions, a conservative group that recruits plaintiffs for lawsuits against affirmative action at universities.
In its Wednesday announcement, the Trump administration did not mention Harvard specifically but said the Justice Department would investigate a complaint lodged by 64 Asian groups about discrimination at a university.
The complaint also argues that Harvard’s use of “holistic” admissions — which take into account a wide range of factors beyond academic performance — is really a way “to disguise the fact that it holds Asian Americans to a far higher standard than other students and essentially forces them to compete against each other for admission.”
Affirmative action opponents often cite a 2009 study that found Asian Americans had to score 140 points higher on SAT exams in order to be on equal footing with whites in private university admissions — a difference they sometimes call the “Asian tax.”
8/4/17 The College Fix: “Harvard’s federal funding at risk as Trump administration reviews anti-Asian preferences”
by Jackson Richman
8/3/17 NPR: “DOJ Looks Into Whether Harvard Discriminates Against Asian-Americans”
by Kirk Carapezza
8/3/17 Fox News (As seen on Tucker Carlson Tonight): “Asian American Legal Group Supports DOJ Plan to Probe Race-Based College Admissions”
An Asian American legal group is supporting the Department of Justice’s reported plans to investigate and potentially sue universities that intentionally discriminate against certain applicants based on race.
The department will reportedly look into specific allegations that Harvard University discriminated against Asian American applicants.
Lee Cheng, with the Asian American Legal Foundation, said every member of his organization would be very happy to see a long overdue dedication to true civil rights by the Justice Department.
“It’s an absolute shame and travesty that previous administrations and individuals within the civil rights group of the DOJ saw fit to ignore well-documented complaints of individual and systemic discrimination against Asian Americans at Ivy League universities and other colleges,” Cheng said.
He said that universities know that the actual admissions records will reveal the extent and scope of this “shameful and blatantly illegal” discrimination against individuals of Asian descent.
He said that universities have covered up and whitewashed these complaints over the years because they are ideologically driven by equality of outcome instead of equality of opportunity.
“This is something that our organization has been waiting for for literally decades,” Cheng said. “And we’re grateful to see that someone in DOJ in the administration is finally going to take some action.”
8/2/17 National Review: “Good News: Attorney General Sessions Takes On Affirmative Action in College Admissions”
by David French
I’d describe it differently. I’d say the DOJ is enforcing the law. And if you think white applicants would be the prime beneficiary of fair enforcement, you’re sadly mistaken. The true victims of affirmative action are our Asian-American citizens.
8/2/17 New York Times: “Asian-Americans’ Complaint Prompted Justice Inquiry of College Admissions”
By Charlie Savage
WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Wednesday said it was searching for Civil Rights Division lawyers to investigate a single complaint involving Asian-American students in a college admissions affirmative-action case.
Ms. Flores’s statement described the investigation as an administrative referral about a complaint filed by 64 Asian-American coalitions in May 2015 and that “alleges racial discrimination against Asian-Americans in a university’s admission policy and practices.” That description dovetails with a dispute at Harvard University that led to a still-pending lawsuit filed on behalf of such students. The Justice Department, to date, has not intervened in that litigation or filed a friend-of-the-court brief.
5/19/17 BuzzFeed News: “Asians With “Very Familiar Profiles”: How Princeton’s Admissions Officers Talk About Race”
by Molly Hensley-Clancy
A trove of documents created during a federal investigation into Princeton University offers an unprecedented glimpse at how elite college admissions officers talk about race.
But documents obtained by BuzzFeed News show Princeton’s admissions officers repeatedly wrote of Asian-American applicants as being difficult to differentiate, referring to them dismissively as having “very familiar profiles,” calling them “standard premeds,” or “difficult to pluck out.” The comments were noted by civil rights investigators at the Education Department as they probed allegations of racial bias in the school’s admissions system.
5/19/17 Front Page Mag: “Princeton Chose Minority Students Based on Amount of “Cultural Flavor””
by Daniel Greenfield
Princeton’s admissions officers repeatedly wrote of Asian applicants as being difficult to differentiate, referring to them dismissively as having “very familiar profiles,” calling them “standard premeds,” or “difficult to pluck out.” The comments were noted by civil rights investigators at the Education Department as they probed allegations of racial bias in the school’s admissions system.
An investigator questioned an admissions officer after an Asian student was described eagerly by a counterpart as a “first-generation Chinese student whose own life has not been easy, trying to make the lives of others better through service. One of the best we’ll ever see from [high school].”
The second officer was less enthusiastic. “Perfectly able and appealing,” the officer wrote. “Very familiar profile.”
“Bright premed, but like many others,” another
5/11/17 ESPN: “Jeremy Lin says racist remarks he heard from opponents were worse in NCAA than NBA”
by Ohm Youngmisuk
Jeremy Lin has dealt with racist remarks as an Asian American in the NBA, but he said nothing compares to what he repeatedly experienced while playing in college.
4/28/17 NextShark: “Meet the First Asian American to Become the Dean of Yale University”
By Ryan General
Psychology and neuroscience professor Marvin Chun will take on the role as the next dean of Yale College, according to an email announcement by University President Peter Salovey on Thursday.
4/20/17 The Daily Princetonian: “Behind the veil: The racism of Princeton’s affirmative action”
By Hayley Siegel
The University is suing the United States Department of Education in an attempt to keep seven years of admissions records hidden from the public. The cover-up is hardly unexpected — Princeton engages in discriminatory admissions policies under the pretext of “affirmative action” despite having lost sight of the very goals that the concept was originally intended to promote. There is no denying that Princeton, like many of its peers, uses race-based affirmative action in its admissions decisions, a process that has engendered an apparent quota on students of Asian descent.
4/5/17 The Daily Pennsylvanian: “Princeton sues Department of Education to keep admissions data private in midst of racial discrimination claims”
By Rebecca Lieberman
Princeton University attempts to block its admissions data from being released in the midst of questions about possible racial discrimination against Asian applicants.
Princeton sued the Department of Education to prevent it from releasing the sensitive admissions data, Buzzfeed News reported.
The admission documents include student files and information on how the university chooses its incoming freshman class. These documents could potentially expose the admissions practices of elite universities and, some argue, could hinder efforts towards affirmative action.
4/3/17 Heat Street: “Calls For College President Rita Cheng to Resign Because She Rejects Safe Spaces”
By Kieran Corcoran
The president of a US university is facing calls to resign because she refuses to endorse safe spaces on her institution’s campus.
Rita Cheng, who leads Northern Arizona University, sparked protests and a campus walkout by telling students they had to confront ideas they don’t like rather than hide from them.
3/28/17 Wall Street Journal: “Is the Ivy League’s Admission Bias a ‘Trade Secret’? Princeton sues to block the government’s release of documents that could show discrimination”
By Jason L. Riley
Last year Mr. Blum’s organization filed a public records Freedom of Information Act request with the Education Department to gain access to the same documents that the federal government used to clear Princeton of any wrongdoing. Mr. Blum’s organization represents a group of Asian plaintiffs who are suing Harvard University over its admissions policies. The judge in that case has ordered Harvard to turn over six years of admissions records, and Mr. Blum suspects that the data will show that Harvard is unlawfully capping Asian enrollment.
America’s Asian population has exploded in recent decades, and Asian attendance at highly selective schools with colorblind admissions, such the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley, reflects this demographic trend. At Harvard, however, the percentage of Asian undergrads has remained remarkably consistent for an institution that claims race is not a determining factor in who is admitted. Mr. Blum suspects that Princeton engages in similar shenanigans, but the school has been pressuring the Education Department to deny him the information that he requested more than a year ago.
Concerned that the government was finally going to fulfill the FOIA request, Princeton sued the Education Department on March 17 to block the release of the admissions documents. The suit argues that the material being sought is exempt from FOIA, a claim that the government has rejected. The school also maintains that releasing the data would compromise student privacy, and it likened its admissions process to “trade secrets” that, if exposed, would put Princeton at a competitive disadvantage in attracting students.
Don’t believe it. Admissions officers switch schools all the time, presumably taking knowledge of admissions procedures with them, and the criteria used by elite institutions to evaluate applicants is not the equivalent of an iPhone patent. Nor is student privacy an issue since names, addresses and other personal information can be redacted. Mr. Blum’s organization simply wants the number of Asians who have applied to Princeton, their SAT scores and grade-point averages, and other information that the school used to analyze applicants academically.
What really concerns Princeton is a potential discrimination lawsuit. What ought to concern the rest of us is the apparent determination of elite colleges to punish Asians students for their academic success. Asians have long been the forgotten victims of liberal affirmative-action schemes, subject to unwritten “just for Asian” admissions standards that recall the treatment of Jews in the first half of the 20th century. Princeton wants them to shut up about it. Let’s hope they don’t.
3/17/2017 Politico: “Princeton sues to block release of records on admissions probe”
By Michael Stratford
Princeton University is asking a federal court to block the Education Department from releasing a trove of documents related to a closed federal civil rights investigation into its admissions practices.
2/3/17 U.S. News and World Report: “A New Face for Affirmative Action? Edward Blum takes on affirmative action again – this time, with an Asian-American plaintiff, and Harvard as the defendant”
1/30/17 New York Times: “White Students’ Unfair Advantage in Admissions”
by Andrew Lam
A 2009 Princeton study showed Asian-Americans had to score 140 points higher on their SATs than whites, 270 points higher than Hispanics and 450 points higher than blacks to have the same chance of admission to leading universities. A lawsuit filed in 2014 accused Harvard of having a cap on the number of Asian students — the percentage of Asians in Harvard’s student body had remained about 16 percent to 19 percent for two decades even though the Asian-American percentage of the population had more than doubled. In 2016, the Asian American Coalition for Education filed a complaint with the Department of Education against Yale, where the Asian percentage had remained 13 percent to 16 percent for 20 years, as well as Brown and Dartmouth, urging investigation of their admissions practices for similar reasons.
There’s ample evidence that Asian-Americans are at a disadvantage in college admissions. This issue has divided Asians and others who debate the relative benefits of diversity versus meritocracy in our society.
But if Asians are being held back, it’s not so much because of affirmative action but because of preference for whites. The 450-point advantage that the Princeton study demonstrated blacks have over Asians draws the most attention. But the number that is most revealing is the 140-point advantage for whites over Asians.
Often-cited examples of race-blind meritocracy are New York City’s elite public schools, such as Stuyvesant High School, for which admission is based solely on a standardized test. Stuyvesant is about 74 percent Asian, 18 percent white, 3 percent Hispanic, 1 percent black, with 4 percent multiracial or other. In California, where race-based affirmative action was eliminated in 1996, admission at the University of California at Berkeley is 42 percent Asian.
Andrew Lam is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at Tufts University School of Medicine, and the author of “Saving Sight” and “Two Sons of China.”
10/20/16 Cornell Sun: “Students Debate Implications of Race-Based Admissions for Asian Americans”
By Emma Newburger
The Cornell Speech and Debate Society and Dyson Inclusion and Diversity Program hosted a debate Thursday, discussing whether Asian Americans should support or oppose race-based admissions policies.