Dicta

The home of “things said” by the National Association of Scholars.

Washington Voters Reject Referendum 88

Peter Wood

Washington voters reject a legislative initiative to enforce racial preferences. 

Racial Preferences at Texas Tech

NAS

The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights negotiated an end to racial preferences at the Texas university. What does it say about the future of these policies at other schools?

Racial Preferences Shakes a Classical Studies Conference

David Randall

A conference erupted in outrage after a member openly criticized racial preferences. 

Announcing Our Podcast, Curriculum Vitae

NAS

In our inaugural podcast, NAS President Peter W. Wood sits down with Dennis Saffran to discuss Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard.

Moving Against Racial Discrimination

NAS

A statement on the Departments of Education and Justice decision to repeal seven guidelines on racial preferences in college admissions.

A Ceiling on Asian Student Enrollment at MIT and Harvard?

Ashley Thorne

A new study, Too Many Asian Americans, provides evidence for racial discrimination in college admissions. 

CCSU Affirmative Action Plan Discriminates

Jay Bergman

One professor calls out Central Connecticut State University's practice of discriminating on the basis of race, ethnicity and gender.

Race, Sex, and Faculty Searches, Department of Biology, SDSU, 1988-2002

Stuart Hurlbert

Prof. Stuart Hurlbert provides data on the effect of affirmative action policies on faculty searches between 1988 and 2002 at San Diego State University's Biology Department.

Blackalaureate 2017 at Brown University: A Photo Essay

NAS

Brown University graduates held a black-only "Blackalaureate" the day before commencement.

College Officials, Take Note: We’re Watching You

Roger Clegg

Roger Clegg discusses public disapproval of affirmative action, Fisher II, and responsible legal options for universities. 

Video: Debate on Affirmative Action

NAS

NAS president Peter Wood and Harvard law professor Randall Kennedy debate affirmative action at an event sponsored by the University Union at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Civil Rights in the Republic

George Seaver

The latent causes of faction are sown in the nature of man.

Affirmative Action at the University of Louisville: A Case Study

Ben Foster

An examination of the application of seldom-scrutinized affirmative action policies in one university.

The Stiff Price of Social Justice

Adam Mission

Colleges that let in unqualified applicants hire lots of staff for student retention. This raises college costs, drives away poor, qualified students, and doesn't even keep unqualified admits from flunking out of college.

Give the Poor Students a Chance, Not a Preference

Ashley Thorne

NAS Executive Director Ashley Thorne analyzes the problems with giving college admissions preferences to low-income students.

NAS Joins SLF Supreme Court Amicus Brief

Glenn Ricketts

NAS joins a petition asking the Supreme Court to accept a case that could have major implications for race-based hiring policies.

UCLA Law Professor Rick Sander: The evidence that racial preferences do cause "mismatch"

George Leef

UCLA law professor Rick Sander writes about the importance of "mismatch" due to racial preferences.

Teaching Particulars: A Review

David Randall

David Randall reviews Helaine Smith's argument for close reading in Teaching Particulars, and considers its implications for higher education.

In Fisher II, the Supreme Court Should Look at Reality, Not Pretense

Peter Wood

NAS President Peter Wood zeroes in on the use of "diversity" to justify the racial preference regime on campus, and explains why the Supreme Court should abandon the diversity rationale entirely.

A Logician Sees Through the Fallacious Arguments for "Diversity"

George Leef

Professor Carl Cohen, a professor at the University of Michigan, opposes granting preference to students on the basis of ethnicity.

Supreme Court to Rehear Fisher Case

Glenn Ricketts

The Supreme Court has an opportunity to revisit an affirmative action case - and hopefully end race-based admissions policies.

Fisher v. Texas: Just Say No to Racial Preferences

George Leef

The upcoming Supreme Court decision could end racial discrimination on College admissions.

Asians In The Ivy League, Or Not

John Rosenberg

Today's college admission process tells students that race matters more than hard work.

The Ivies: New Quotas?

John Rosenberg

Affirmative action has led to the underrepresentation of Asians and native-born whites.

Why Racial Preferences Are Wrong

Peter Wood

Peter Wood offers a case against race-based affirmative action.

Group Preferences Based on "Place" vs. Preferences Based on Race

George Leef

George Leef reviews Professor Sheryll Cashin's recent book, Place, Not Race.

The Unstoppable Mania

George Leef

Will there ever be enough diversity?

Sonia, What Happened?

George W. Dent

Sonia Sotomayor's impassioned dissent in Schuette v. BAMN seems to contradict views she expressed in her memoir, My Beloved Land.

Where do preferential policies stand now?

George Leef

"It is no longer the case that Jim Crow–advantaged whites are being displaced by just-liberated African-Americans. Indeed, it is more and more the case that preferences are used to give an advantage to Latinos over Asian Americans."

And We Shall Not All Be Dentists

Amy L. Wax

Amy L. Wax and Isaac N. Cohen review the book, Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality.

Arguments for Racial Preferences Losing Ground

Ashley Thorne

As California discards a bill that would overturn Proposition 209, there is evidence that racial preferences are becoming more and more discredited.

Gail Heriot and Affirmative Action

NAS

NAS board member Gail Heriot debated the motion, "Affirmative Action on Campus Does More Harm than Good" on Intelligence Squared.

Students Sue over Discriminatory Funding at the University of Michigan

Marilee Turscak

The University of Michigan backed a student group lobbying for affirmative action, while denying another group funding for a speaker who argued against racial preferences.

A Very Weak Argument For Discrimination

George Leef

Harvard Law professor Randall Kennedy's new book concluding in favor of continuing racial preferences fails to be persuasive.

Diversity Uber Alles!

George Leef

Ignoring the Supreme Court's statements in Fisher v. Texas, the Departments of Education and Justice have told college officials that racial preferences are still permissible.

The Critical Question Involves “Critical Mass”

R. Lawrence Purdy

The Supreme Court fails to come to grips with "critical mass," an academic euphemism for unlawful quotas.

Educational Malpractice Abounding

George Leef

George Leef on the real harms inflicted by mismatch in higher ed.

Telling the Truth About "Holistic" Admissions

George Leef

George Leef weighs in on the recent New York Times article about UC Berkeley's admission procedures.

Affirmative Action: A Change in the Air?

Glenn Ricketts

Public commentary suggests that more academics are expressing dissatisfaction with race-based "diversity" policies.

Roger Clegg versus the higher ed establishment's "diversity statement"

George Leef

Attorney Roger Clegg looks at the higer ed establishment's recent statement in the NYT on racial preferences.

Diversity After Fisher: The Establishment Speaks

Peter Wood

Doubts about racial preferences could cause fissures in higher ed's coral reef of "diversity."

On the Fisher Non-Decision

George Leef

George Leef on what's next for the Fisher case.

Poll: Public Support for Affirmative Action at an All-Time Low

Glenn Ricketts

No surprise: public support for affirmative action policies has dropped sharply. But it may be for different reasons than some academics think.

How to Manage Race Relations and Succeed

Glenn Ricketts

Is there an alternative to affirmative action?  Jonathan Bean thinks so.

Spring 2013 Academic Questions Issue is Out

Ashley Thorne

The first issue of NAS's quarterly journal's 2013 volume focuses on the Common Core, civics education, racial preferences, and important new books in higher education.

Both Wrong and Bad

Carl Cohen

In a review essay, Cohen says Russell Nieli's Wounds That Will Not Heal "contends that the products of race preference, or affirmative action, are bad—very, very bad."

The Implausible "Stereotype Threat" Excuse

George Leef

Defenders of affirmative action must work hard to explain away a serious problem: the tendency for the students admitted due to preferences to do relatively poorly in their coursework.

Newsflash: Straight White Male Professionals Alienated on College Campuses

Glenn Ricketts

An academic administrator broaches a taboo subject.

Whither Fisher?

Glenn Ricketts

Idle speculations on the Supreme Court's probable ruling in a major affirmative action case.

The "Affirmative Action" Colleges Really Need

George Leef

Robert Weissberg writes for the Pope Center on how students can encourage good teaching and discourage bad teaching through operant conditioning.

Race and Faculty Hiring

Nevin Montgomery

As the Supreme Court considers the Fisher case, a law professor decribes the hidden aspects of race-based faculty hiring.

Damage Done by Diversity at Navy

George Leef

The US Naval Academy embraces diversity.

Two Books I'd Love to See the Justices Reading

George Leef

Wounds That Will Not Heal and Mismatch take a wrecking ball to the foolish notion that "affirmative action" is a benign policy.

Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Derails Dr. King's Dream

R. Lawrence Purdy

The repeal of Michigan's affirmative action ban shows inconsistency with the history of the civil rights movement.

Reactions to Court Decision Overturning Michigan Affirmative Action Ban

NAS

Scholars offer preliminary thoughts on the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court ruling overturning a voter approved ban on affirmative action policies.

New Study of “Holistic” Admissions at UCLA Generates Controversy

Glenn Ricketts

A new study by a UCLA law professor reveals the extent to which race influences the school's undergraduate admissions policies.

Jennifer Gratz Reflects on the Battle Over Racial Preferences

George Leef

The successful plaintiff in the case against the University of Michigan's undergraduate racial preferences writes about the recently argued Fisher case before the Supreme Court.

The "Painful Truth" About Affirmative Action

Glenn Ricketts

Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr. state the case bluntly.

UCSD’s New Hire

Crystal Plum

With diversity as a top priority at the University of California, the San Diego branch hopes to invest even more with its new vice chancellor for equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Teresa Sullivan and Diversity: Then and Now

Glenn Ricketts

University of Virginia president Sullivan once viewed "diversity" very differently than she does now.

Was Teresa Sullivan an Affirmative Action Hire?

John Rosenberg

John Rosenberg considers whether the UVa president's efforts for campus "diversity" have played a role in advancing her career.

How To Talk About Affirmative Action

Glenn Ricketts

Affirmative Action: Absurdity and Beyond

Glenn Ricketts

Academic "diversity" policies just keep on diversifying.

Asian-American Groups Submit Briefs in Fisher Case Opposing Racial Preferences

Glenn Ricketts

As the Supreme Court approaches a decision, some new briefs oppose racial preferences in college admissions.

Crumbia U President Discusses Diversity

Glenn Ricketts

This really is a joke, but you might well wonder.

What Do Student Journalists Say About Fisher v Texas?

Glenn Ricketts

Undergraduate opinion writers and edtorial boards ponder the significance of a major affirmative action case now under review by the Supreme Court.

Should Universities Continue "Affirmative Action" Policies?

George Leef

George Leef and James Sterba debate the usefulness of "affirmative action" in contemporary college admissions.

How You Ask the Questions Matters

George Leef

Results on a poll about affirmative action would be more strongly against if the questions were asked differently.

What Will the Court Do About Affirmative Action?

Glenn Ricketts

John Rosenberg dissects the "diversity' policies at the University of Texas now under scrutiny by the SCOTUS.

Latest Disguise for Racial Preferences

George Leef

Racial quotas under another name.

Fisher Case Generates Wide Press Coverage, Reactions

Glenn Ricketts

Press coverage and commentary of the US Supreme Court's decision to accept the case of Fisher v. University of Texas for review.

The Vocabulary of Virtue

David Clemens

You can’t end racism by practicing racism, even when you pretend it is virtuous.

SCOTUS Grants Certiorari in UTexas Admissions Case

Glenn Ricketts

The Supreme Court grants Certiorari in a major affirmative action case in Texas.

 

Politically Correct Solutions Won’t Solve the Political Correctness Problem

Ashley Thorne

In the quest for preserving intellectual diversity the method counts as much as the message. Ashley Thorne responds to Ted Gup's proposed means to protect conservative thought on liberal campuses.

Better Answers Required to Justify Holistic Admissions Process

W. Lee Hansen

After attending hearings discussing recent findings on racial preferences at UW-Madison, NAS member W. Lee Hansen extends his critique of the admissions process at the university.

Unanswered Questions: UW-Madison Students Protest CEO Report on Racial and Ethnic Preferences in Admissions

Roger Clegg

What really happened during the student protest against the findings of the Center for Equal Opportunity? NAS member W. Lee Hansen, Professor Emeritus of Economics at UW-Madison, documents what he observed on September 13 and offers a new assessment of the controversy.

The Mind of a Pioneering Diversity Officer

John Rosenberg

One diversity guru illustrates the semantic leaps necessary for creating campus diversity bureaucracy.

Improving a Bad Analogy

Roger Clegg

CEO president Roger Clegg explains why a familiar football analogy doesn't work as a justification for race preferences.

A Racially Restrictive Pipeline?

John Rosenberg

Displaying “grit and academic improvement” is not limited to minorities.

Video: Robert Weissberg on Affirmative Action in the Academy

Political scientist Bob Weissberg reflects on campus affirmative action policies.

A "Desperate Defense" for Affirmative Action Gets Demolished

George Leef

In this essay on Minding the Campus, Russ Nieli responds to a recent article in the American Scholar by William Chace. 

Diversity Mania in Law Schools

George Leef

This Chronicle article covers a recent symposium on that most horrific of problems, an inadequate level of diversity. The focus of this particular symposium was insufficient diversity in the legal profession. A revealing quotation: "Our profession is among the least diverse in the country," said Conrad A. Johnson, a panelist and clinical professor at Columbia. "If we maintain the current status quo, we will find ourselves falling further and further behind if our goal is to obtain parity with the general population." Why should that be a goal of law schools or of the legal profession? If someone wants a good estate planning attorney, he doesn't care about the ancestry of the best estate planners he might choose, much less the diversity of the whole legal profession. The law profs who fret about "parity with the general population" have a central planning mentality that's common among academics, but is completely irrelevant to decision-makers in the real world.

Another Piece of Evidence that Federal Spending is Out of Control

George Leef

In this eye-popping Minding the Campus essay, KC Johnson writes about a recent federally-funded conference that’s as clear a case of wasteful special interest group spending as you’ll ever find. I doubt that there is any constitutional justification for the National Science Foundation at all, but certainly not for it to spend tax dollars on a conference devoted to how minority political science professors can get tenure.

But Will Navy Now Drop its Diversity Mania?

George Leef

The Chronicle reports on the settlement the Naval Academy has been forced to make with the English professor it retaliated against after he criticized its "affirmative action" program. To call this an "embarrassment" is putting it mildly. The decision to go for a "diverse" student body rather than the best qualified is bad enough; to retaliate against a professor for speaking out is worse yet. After all of this, though, will the Naval Academy change anything?

Debating the Academic Bill of Rights

Peter Wood

Does the Academic Bill of Rights amount to affirmative action for conservative faculty or is it an appeal to colleges and universities to end discrimination on the basis of political views?

At the Ballot in AZ Nov. 2: Proposition 107

Ashley Thorne

Next week Arizona citizens have the historic opportunity to reject racial preferences in state institutions, including public universities, by voting YES on Proposition 107. Learn more: NAS's argument in favor of Prop. 107 A letter from NAS member Stuart Hurlbert to Arizonans Articles on Prop. 107

NAS Scoops NY Post

Ashley Thorne

Thanks to a tip from our CUNY affiliate, NAS published an article exposing the gaffe of a Brooklyn College faculty member, Jocelyn Wills, who wrote in an email, "Please spread the word among your colleagues and friends on Faculty Council, that we need to correct the lily-white imbalances of the Dean's Search Committees, all four of them." NAS pointed out 4 problems with such a statement: 1. It is blatantly racist against white faculty members. 2. It assumes that racial balance should be the norm. 3. It calls on colleagues to discriminate based on race. 4. It disrespects the non-racial merits of the people Wills wants to help. The day after this article was published, the New York Post covered the story in "Lily-White Prof-Panel Slam," which notes that Wills resigned after she was elected to the search committee.

Legacy Preferences Are Bad; So Are Racial Preferences

George Leef

In today's Pope Center piece, I respond to a recent NYT article by Richard Kahlenberg in which he argues against legacy preferences in college admissions. I think the case  against legacy preferences is sound. I part company with him, however, on how to remedy the situation (I don't favor either legislation or litigation) and argue that his attempt at distinguishing legacy preferences from racial preferences (which he doesn't criticize, I suspect because to do so would cost him powerful allies) is a failure.

Virginia Tech's New "Diversity" Litmus Test

Ashley Thorne

An Argus volunteer gave us an update on the latest efforts to enforce "diversity" on faculty members at Virginia Tech.  Last year Virginia Tech required faculty members to prove the value of their "contributions to diversity" in order to be eligible for promotion and tenure.

This year the University is seeking to ensure that only those who play the diversity game get faculty appointments in the first place. To this end it has fashioned a "diversity" litmus test for faculty hiring. Read about this serious issue in "Will You Promote Diversity? Virginia Tech Tests Faculty Candidates' Commitment," by Peter Wood and Ashley Thorne.

Let's Give Diversity the Gate

Glenn Ricketts

I could be wrong, but in the wake of all the mudwrestling that's followed the NAACP's recent branding of Tea Partiers as racists, I think that the ideological fulcrum of the "diversity" debate has significantly shifted ground. For once, the response by public figures has been direct and emphatic, instead of the usual backpedaling after some vague, apologetic mumbling about the need to "include" all groups, the value of a diverse work force or the wish to avoid offending anyone, etc., etc., etc. The public rejection of the NAACP's allegations, moreover, has been bi-partisan, including prominent Republicans such as Sarah Palin and no less than Vice President Biden and President Obama on the Democratic side of the aisle. Hopefully, this means that absurd or silly allegations of racism will no longer compel politicans and bureaucrats to jump through the hoop as they've done so frequently in the past. Especially encouraging, though, is this piece by Virgina Democrat James Webb in today's Wall Street Journal. Webb argues that although "diversity" policies had their origins in the laudable and necessary efforts to redress the unique injustices suffered by black Americans, they have long since become obsessed with skin color or ethnic background, often with unconcealed hostility toward whites. Thus, newly arrived immigrants often benefit from these policies, even though their own experiences don't remotely resemble those of blacks. It doesn't stop there either, since in many academic institutions, "diversity" and "inclusiveness" now extend to ever -expanding categories of sexuality, life experiences or those with physical disabilities. A particularly hard sell for me has always been affirmative action for "women" within the diversity rubric, as though the largely white, middle-class feminist movement could claim grievances comparable to those suffered historically by blacks. Yet many academic job postings routinely specify that "women and ethnic or racial minorities are especially encouraged to apply." That doesn't compute. Anyway, Webb says it's now time to end racial preferences, stop discriminating against whites, and simply treat everyone equally under the law. Amen.

Russ Nieli Writes About "Diversity's" Dirty Little Secret

George Leef

Princeton's Russ Nieli has an illuminating essay on Minding the Campus entitled "How Diversity Punishes Asians, Poor Whites and Lots of Others." It absolutely knocks the stuffing out of the contention we hear so often from college administrators that their reason for using certain preferences is that a more "diverse" student body will enhance learning and break down stereotypes. If they actually wanted to do that, they would look for students who really do bring different beliefs and perspectives and would drop the bias Nieli shows against students from military families, those who have been active in groups like 4H, and so on. They aren't looking for Justice Powell's phantom "educational benefits of diversity" but are merely looking to fill quotas. Nieli advocates that elite colleges get over their diversity mania and follow what he calls the Cal Tech model: focus on enrolling students who are the most academically talented and the most eager to learn.

Conferring Privilege: DOJ, Law Schools, and the New Politics of Race

Peter Wood

On the 45th anniversary of affirmative action, a law school association is working against colorblindness.

Jennifer Gratz on the Real Question About Race

Ashley Thorne

Jennifer Gratz, plaintiff in Gratz v. Bollinger in 2003, testified in court last week against AB 2047, a new bill that if passed, will overturn Proposition 209 and allow racial preferences in California university admissions. When asked, "If you had to bet your $5 on which kid was going to be more successful...one kid white, one kid of color, which kid do you think you should bet on?" she replied, "I wouldn't bet on either kid based on their race, I would look at the kid as a whole." Her interviewer pressed, "I regrettably come to the conclusion that race does still matter in terms of the ability of young people to succeed," to which Gratz answered, "I think the question should be: how do we get to the point, then, where it does not matter? And the government sticking its nose in the issue of race and determining based on someone's race who gets into a university, and picking and choosing winners and losers based on skin color, does not get us there." Watch the exchange in the 5-minute video below (via ACRI):

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bB0xtW_c5UA&feature=player_embedded]

California Scholars Fighting for Prop. 209

Ashley Thorne

Proposition 209, the law prohibiting racial preferences at public universities in California, is under attack. Last week the California Association of Scholars (CAS), an affiliate of NAS, filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit against Prop. 209 by an organization that, as NAS president Peter Wood said, "has deployed questionable tactics against civil rights initiatives in every state where they have been proposed." CAS, along with Ward Connerly and the American Civil Rights Foundation, will be represented by attorneys with the Pacific Legal Foundation. There is also a bill called AB2047, which would effectively overturn Prop. 209 and is now in the hands of the California Senate. CAS president John Ellis has sent a letter to the Senate chair, Gloria Romero, urging her and her colleagues to vote down this law. Links Press Release on CAS and BAMN lawsuit CAS Letter to State Senate Chronicle of Higher Ed Pacific Legal Foundation Press Release

The Diversity Mania and Discrimination Against Asians

George Leef

In this week's Pope Center Clarion Call, Roger Clegg addresses the question of discrimination against Asian students. Of course, selective colleges don't say, "We're against those geeky, overly studious Asian kids. Let 'em go somewhere else!" Rather, they just don't want to have "too many" of them, so as to have enough room for all the "under-represented" groups, whose students are presumed to add so much interest to the student body. The result is the same, though: some students are rejected on account of their ancestry.

Do We Need Class-Based Affirmative Action?

George Leef

I was recently asked to respond to that question for The Chronicle Review, prompted by a recent study finding that many college students who drop out say that the reason they did so was too much pressure to work to earn money. Roger Clegg and I were the Grinches in the piece. There was a tight word limit on comments and there are some points I think worth adding. First, how do we really know why a student drops out? It is easy and I would think tempting for a student who just couldn't or wouldn't handle the academic work to save face by stating that financial pressure was the reason for leaving school. Second, instituting class-based affirmative action wouldn't do anything for poor people (or more accurately, poor people who have children who can get into college) as a group. The tendency of leftists to look at the world in terms of groups (and also to judge policies by their intentions) gets in the way of understanding the true impact of affirmative action. Suppose that all the selective schools decided that they wanted a quota of, say, 10 percent SES (socio-economic status) admits. That would be a small percentage of the total number of students from lower income households who go to college, and those given this preference would undoubtedly be the best of those students -- kids who probably could handle the workload at the non-selective colleges where they'd otherwise enroll. At the same time as a few students are admitted on SES grounds, equal numbers of non-poor students will have to enroll at a less selective institution. Going to a more selective school might be of a slight benefit to those few who are chosen to fill SES quotas (or it might actually prove harmful on "mismatch" and cost grounds), but it doesn't make the mass of poorer people one bit better off.

ALERT: Pelosi's Health Bill Would Mandate Race-Based Educational Preferences

Candace de Russy

The NAS has long and wisely opposed the use of racial, ethnic, or other criteria unrelated to merit in (among other aspects of campus life) student recruitment and admissions. Those who support this view will find troubling the following requirement embedded in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's 1,990-page health-care bill, which as I write she is trying to bring to a vote, and which fomer Lt. Governor of New York Betsy McCaughey, writing in The Wall Street Journal,  has unearthed:

Secs. 2521 and 2533 (pp. 1379 and 1437) establishes racial and ethnic preferences in awarding grants for training nurses and creating secondary-school health science programs. For example, grants for nursing schools should "give preference to programs that provide for improving the diversity of new nurse graduates to reflect changes in the demographics of the patient population." And secondary-school grants should go to schools "graduating students from disadvantaged backgrounds including racial and ethnic minorities."

The academic community en masse should, but of course won't, reject such heavy-handed and unfair federal manipulation of student admissions in the name of diversity. This bill - among its other ill effects - will only add to division and lowered academic standards throughout our educational institutions.

Fight Over Racial Preferences at IHE

George Leef

Today's Inside Higher Ed has a piece on a new book lauding "affirmative action" (that is to say, selective racial preferences). My good friend Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a strong opponent of preferences posted a comment and all hell has since broken loose. My thoughts: I haven't yet read the new book, but what I wish the people who keep demanding racial preferences at elite schools would explain is what is so darned important about going to one of those "elite" schools. The courses aren't taught any better just because the faculty is loaded with "academic stars." If anything, it goes the other way. Students at schools where the professors actually handle most of the teaching are likely to get more out of a course than at schools where the profs are mainly preoccupied with their publications. I don't think the mania for admissions preferences is really about the students. Rather, it's about the academic administrators. It makes them feel good about themselves to believe that their little social engineering efforts matter a lot. When mean people like Roger Clegg say that they should drop racial preferences, that's like telling them to stop playing make believe and grow up.

Berkeley and Barriers

Ashley Thorne

A reader commenting on my post "Teaching Can Be Dangerous" wrote:

Speaking of politicization, I have a friend who is applying to a PhD program at Berkeley. He sent me the “personal history statement” that is required from all applicants: “Please describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Please include information on how you have overcome barriers to access in higher education, evidence of how you have come to understand the barriers faced by others, evidence of your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities, and individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education, evidence of your research focusing on underserved populations or related issues of inequality, or evidence of your leadership among such groups.” This is apparently part of the general Berkeley graduate school application; i.e., it’s not just for political departments like social work. So if you want to be a graduate researcher on, say, the biology of sponges, you have to explain how your research focuses on underserved populations. (I suppose sponges don’t get nearly enough attention.) If this question isn’t a political loyalty oath I don’t know what would be. I hope NAS will look into this and see if it indeed is a required part of every Berkeley graduate application in every subject.

I did look up the Berkeley application for graduate admission, and the cited question is indeed part of the general app (see page 29). It is, as the commenter points out, a political litmus test, and it sounds very much like Virginia Tech's College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences requirement that faculty members prove their service to "diversity" as a condition for promotion and tenure. It's also interesting that the question is phrased in terms of "barriers to access in higher education," when the very question itself is posing a barrier to Berkeley admission for those who do not pledge their allegiance to political correctness.

Student Gov Officers Appointed by Race at UMass

Ashley Thorne

Alana Goodman, a student at the University of Massachusetts, has published an excellent article, "Institutionalized Racism in Student Government," in the Collegian, the schoool's student newspaper. Here's an excerpt:

As we prepare to swear in our elected representatives to the SGA Senate next week, UMass students should be aware that 13 percent of our SGA Senators will not have even competed in Tuesday’s elections. Instead, they will be appointed to their positions before the election results even come in, solely on the basis of skin color. This portion of the Senate is appointed by a registered student organization (RSO) called the African American, Latino, Asian American, and Native American (ALANA) Caucus (no relation to this columnist). Only minority students who fit one of those four racial categories– or other students who the Caucus approves as “minority allies”– are considered eligible for these Senate seats. [...] This practice has been going on for years, and in addition to its sleaziness it’s also illegal.

The Score: Test Rigging before Ricci

Glenn Ricketts

Twenty years before Ricci, two NAS members debunked

Selling Merit Down the River

Russell K. Nieli

NAS presents a major review essay on the third "River" book supporting racial preferences.

The Race Isn't Over

Ashley Thorne

Complying with federal regulations, Virginia Tech calls on students to identify their race and ethnicity.

What Does Ricci Mean for Higher Ed?

Peter Wood

What principles about racial discrimination can we take from the case of the firefighters in New Haven?

"Specious and Seducing": Alexander Hamilton on Group Preferences

Glenn Ricketts

Arizona puts a civil rights measure on the ballot for 2010. Alexander Hamilton comments.

Clash of Symbols

Ashley Thorne

Elsa Murano, the first Latina president of Texas A&M University, has resigned. Some lament the loss of the institution's "symbol" of diversity.

Virginia Tech, Round 2:Staging Diversity

Peter Wood

Two weeks after Virginia Tech announced it was dropping its diversity litmus test for faculty members, an ambitious dean plots to bring it back.

Affirmative Spoils

Peter Wood

Is affirmative action today mainly about equal opportunity, equal results, or neither?

Virginia Tech, Academic Freedom, and Employment Law: Part 3

Tom Wood

In the third and final part of this series, Tom Wood examines the many non-legal objections to Virginia Tech

"The Only Work I Can Get Here Involves Diversity Programs"

Margaret Matthews

"There I was, just one person sitting there, but she was seeing a group." An administrator longs to escape the racial labeling that characterizes her department.

Lies in California

Ashley Thorne

John Ellis uncovers the deceptions propagated by UC Berkeley's race-obsessed chancellor.

River Rafting

R. Lawrence Purdy

A response to "Affirmative-Action Programs for Minority Students: Right in Theory, Wrong in Practice."

Bucks for Buckeyes

Peter Wood

Tuesday Temptations

Ashley Thorne

Transparency, Stereotype threat and the SAT, Lottery admissions, and Immortal sustainability

Friday Frogs Legs

Ashley Thorne

DiversityInc ratings, Residence life video, Affirmative action in California, Students "feel empty" and look to Great Books, Peter Wood in Inside Higher Ed, Is the internet stupefying students?, Letter to Obama: lose "achievement" and "rigor," Best surfing colleges

Champlain Ethics

Peter Wood

How the University of Vermont waters down character education

Making Allowances

Ashley Thorne

Want to keep students on the track to academic success? Pay them!

What You Learn Depends on What (and Whom) You Ask

Steve Balch

Does diversity in the medical classroom enhance students' ability to care for minority patients? A new study supposedly provides evidence to that effect. But the survey omits some essential elements and thus fails to take an accurate pulse.

9. The Marriage of Affirmative Action and Transformative Education

Tom Wood

This investigative report marks a turning point for How Many Delawares? Now that we better understand the beast we are tracking, we hope to provide an even better account in future installments of our series.