Showing posts with label Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard. Show all posts

Friday, June 30, 2023

The Supreme Court strikes down affirmative action in college admissions: Ain’t nothing gonna change at the universities

Yesterday, in an opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the US Supreme Court struck down affirmative action in college admissions. The vote was 6 to 3.

The Court's analysis was straightforward. When reviewing admission applications, the decision instructed, applicants should be judged based on their individual experience, not race.

Unfortunately. as Justice Roberts wrote
Many universities have for too long done just the opposite. And in doing so, they have concluded, wrongly, that the touchstone of an individual's identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned but the color of their skin. Our constitutional history does not tolerate that choice.
Now that the Supreme Court has declared affirmative action in college admissions unconstitutional, will universities change how they do business? I don’t think so.

American universities are obsessed with race, and many university presidents, deans, and professors view American history as nothing more than a litany of oppression by white racists against people of color. University leaders will likely reject the Supreme Court’s ruling and continue admitting students based on race using their well-honed skills at subterfuge.

Indeed, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg suggested as much in her dissenting opinion in Gratz v. Bollinger. This is what she wrote: 
"One can reasonably anticipate, therefore, the colleges and universities will seek to maintain their minority enrollment . . . whether or not they can do so in full candor . . . " Justice Ginsburg concluded her dissenting opinion by saying, "If honesty is the best policy, surely [Michigan University’s] accurately described, fully disclosed College affirmation program is preferable to achieving similar numbers through winks, nods, and disguises."

What kind of winks, nods, and disguises are we talking about? Here are a couple of examples from my personal experience. When I was a doctoral student at Harvard Graduate School of Education, the school sponsored a scholarly publication called the Harvard Education Review. Students could compete to get on the journal's editorial board, and new board members were appointed by students already on it. A Harvard faculty member described the Harvard Educational Review as a racial ghetto, and indeed it was. As best as I could determine, no heterosexual white students were on the board.

Despite warnings from fellow students that my application would be rejected, I applied for membership on the Harvard Educational Review's editorial board.

My application was rejected. Of course, there was no written policy banning white men from being on the journal's editorial board, and board members could surely articulate alternative reasons for the board's decisions. Nevertheless, I believe board members were selected based on race.

As my Harvard studies drew to a close, I traveled to Washington, DC, to attend a faculty recruitment conference sponsored by the Association of American Law Schools. I hoped to get a job as a law professor.

When I arrived at the conference, I found that job applicants were sorted into three waiting rooms. One room was reserved for women attendees, another was reserved for people of color, and a third waiting room was open to anybody. Only white men were in that room.

I got a couple of interviews, but I spent most of the day watching other white men reading the Washington Post in the white men's waiting room. Meanwhile, women and people of color were busy attending job reviews. In my opinion, I was witnessing affirmative action.

I am not bitter about those experiences. I had a good career as an educational policy researcher. I feel sure that I published more scholarly articles than the combined output of everyone else in my Harvard doctoral cohort.

I'd like to make one point regarding the Supreme Court's recent decision to strike down affirmative action in college admissions. The universities should be honest about what they are doing. If the Supreme Court declares affirmative action to violate the Constitution, universities should stop practicing affirmative action.

Supreme Court says bye bye to affirmative action