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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fears of an Asian Quota in the Ivy League

NYTimes Room for Debate.
Fears of an Asian Quota in the Ivy League

Determined to use educational opportunities as a road to advancement, Asian-Americans have won a disproportionate number of spots at top high schools and colleges that base admission on objective standards. But some have questioned how affirmative action programs might hurt their chances for admission, or say that the most competitive schools do not want to have too many Asian students.

Are top colleges deliberately limiting the number of Asian-Americans they admit?
Only one side in this debate uses numbers and statistics. You can guess which that is.

Debate rule #1: always pay close attention to what the physicist says. There are two in this debate, Ron Unz and S.B. Woo.
S.B. Woo, a physicist and former lieutenant governor of Delaware, was the founding president of the 80-20 National Asian American Educational Foundation, which filed an amicus brief, supporting race-neutral admissions, in the Supreme Court case Fisher v. University of Texas.

Top colleges are clearly limiting the number of Asians they admit, and what’s at stake for America is of more importance than just the number of Asians going to Harvard.

The Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade wrote in his 2009 book, "No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal: Race and Class in Elite College Admission and Campus Life,'' that “to receive equal consideration by elite colleges, Asian Americans must outperform Whites by 140 points, Hispanics by 280 points, Blacks by 450 points in SAT (Total 1600)." As Ron Unz demonstrates, the percentage of Asians among the student bodies of Ivy League schools has been a steady 17 percent, give or take a couple of points, for about 20 years.

The value of equal opportunity is being trampled. The creditability of elite colleges suffers. Meritocracy is compromised. This clearly shows that these colleges set a quota for Asian students.

The percentage of Asian students at the California Institute of Technology, which uses a "race-neutral" admission policy, has roughly followed the proportion of college-age Asians in the general population.

And it’s not just a matter of Asian-Americans doing well on tests. In 2006, they were 27 percent of Presidential Scholars, who were chosen based on scholarship, service, leadership and creativity.

This all demonstrates that top colleges have a "merits-be-damned" approach to limit the number of Asian students. They did that once before -- against Jewish students about a century ago.

America's core value of equal opportunity is being trampled. The 14th Amendment on equal protection is trampled upon. America and Asian American students suffer.

The creditability of elite colleges suffers. The administrators of these colleges may be steadfast in their righteous posturing. But as the truth emerges, fewer people are with them; more are shaking their heads and chuckling at their facade. The meritocracy of the American culture is compromised. America's future is too important to allow race-conscious admission to continue hurting all of us. It's time for the game to stop.

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