Thursday, April 15, 2004

Latest news on Affirmative Action: Michigan and Ohio State

See this article in the New York Times. Despite the Supreme Court's ruling last summer against the 'point system,' which had previously enabled the University of Michigan and Ohio State to consider race as one among other factors in admission, the numbers of minority undergraduate students admitted for fall 2004 has dropped only slightly.

The difference is that both universities have spent a lot more money this year to hire readers for applications (at Michigan, they have spent nearly $2 million more, in a year when the university as a whole suffered $35 million in budget cuts!).

The minority admissions numbers could be secretly rigged -- or they could simply reflect what the pool would look like without the consideration of race. For instance, blacks and latinos might be close to achieving parity with the rest of the field of applicants strictly on the basis of things like test scores and grades. If so, that supports the anti-affirmative argument. In this instance, I'm not sure why conservatives aren't celebrating this news instead of accusing the universities of "gerrymandering" the admissions process (see the quote from Edward Blum in the article).

What is really going on? Seems too early to say.

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