Harvard - discrimination probe

http://www.cnn.com/2017/08/03/us/harvard-minority-admissions-trnd/index.html

I have conflicting thoughts on this.  In reverse situations, people often look at % of people of a certain race in the country and expect to see the same % for everything.  In this case, Harvard accepted <50% white students when the country is roughly 62% white non-Hispanic.   My opinion - if over time this becomes the norm, it is likely discrimination.  I don;t think 1-2 years of data is enough to show systemic discrimination though.  Thoughts on this?

Oh - my other question is: if someone is going to be looking into this it should be across all universities and be looking for those that have a disproportionate amount of whites enrolled well.  I tend to think there are a lot of different factors that determine the breakdown of races in incoming freshmen classes at most universities.  But if the university has specifically stated race as a factor and then uses it to enroll a larger % of a certain race into their university than the overall % in the US population....isn't that a targeted discriminatory practice?  Based on history and the advantages of whites at Harvard in the past, it would seem reasonable at some point...but when does it end?  Should it?  


hippiemom = goodness

Comments

  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,900
    "Harvard College's admitted freshmen last year became the first class in the school's multi-century history comprised of mostly nonwhite students."

    I couldn't get past that first sentence.  Look at it and tell me what it says.
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  • cincybearcatcincybearcat Posts: 8,695
    Right - but data matters.  50.1% is mostly....and the population is over 60%.  So it would still be interesting to see the actual trending data and focus not just on majority but actual % of each race.
    hippiemom = goodness
  • bootlegger10bootlegger10 Posts: 9,465
    Wonder many are U.S. citizens versus foreign students. 
  • cincybearcatcincybearcat Posts: 8,695
    Wonder many are U.S. citizens versus foreign students. 
    That is a solid question as well.

    hippiemom = goodness
  • BentleyspopBentleyspop Craft Beer Brewery, ColoradoPosts: 3,886
    Eventually all of America will be majority non-white. I believe that California already is.
    So why shouldn't  Harvard?
  • ponytdponytd NashvillePosts: 498
    Eventually all of America will be majority non-white. I believe that California already is.
    So why shouldn't  Harvard?
    Not saying it can't happen, and just generally curious, but why do you think that will happen? 64% of the population is non-Hispanic white and only 16% is Hispanic/Latino(which is now the 2nd highest group).

    As far as the Harvard thing, like the OP said, there may not be enough data and if they are targeting specific demographics.
  • BentleyspopBentleyspop Craft Beer Brewery, ColoradoPosts: 3,886
  • brianluxbrianlux Moving through All Kinds of Terrain.Posts: 20,900
    Right - but data matters.  50.1% is mostly....and the population is over 60%.  So it would still be interesting to see the actual trending data and focus not just on majority but actual % of each race.
    Sorry, I just have a hard time taking seriously an article published by a  major news outlet that  I could have written better myself (they make a living doing it, I don't).

    But putting that aside...

    The issue stated in the article appears to not so much be that Harvard isn't admitting enough minorities, but that Asian Americans believe they are not admitting enough Asian Americans.  My thought is that to target a major university like Harvard that already admits more nonwhites than whites is NOT the first place I would target to talk about discrimination, regardless of what ethnic group. 

    Eventually all of America will be majority non-white. I believe that California already is.
    So why shouldn't  Harvard?
    Our governor, Jerry Brown, pointed this out clear back in the 80's.  He said white America needs to start taking a look at the real world, the fact that the world has been mostly non-white for a long time and that those non-whites are getting tired of great imbalance of wealth and power controlled by us whites.  We're still not listening.  This is not going to turn out well. 
    We're living on the edge of something big. It's a fantastic time in history to be alive.
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    ***********
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  • curmudgeonesscurmudgeoness San DiegoPosts: 1,986
    brianlux said:


    The issue stated in the article appears to not so much be that Harvard isn't admitting enough minorities, but that Asian Americans believe they are not admitting enough Asian Americans.  My thought is that to target a major university like Harvard that already admits more nonwhites than whites is NOT the first place I would target to talk about discrimination, regardless of what ethnic group. 
    The argument Asian-Americans make is that, statistically, they are the highest-achieving demographic, but the "holistic admissions" model is biased against them. You mention that you are in California. If you look up a recent list of National Merit semifinalists from California, you will note that the overwhelming majority (like, 90% or so) of names are Chinese in origin, and the remainder are Korean, Indian, and a smattering of Eastern European/ Jewish names. If you look at the team the US sends to the IMO (math olympiad), Intel finalists, etc., you will see that students of Asian descent are in the majority.

    So if a school like Harvard were to select students based on academic qualifications, you would expect to see that the undergraduates would be overwhelmingly of Asian descent. And some applicants and their families suspect, probably correctly, that being an Asian male with a bunch of perfect math and science test scores is a disadvantage when applying to the most competitive schools, the "Asian math geek who plays violin" being something of a cliche. WIth some 35,000 kids now applying to schools like Harvard and Stanford, it's important to create an application that makes one stand out from the crowd.

    And these top schools DON'T admit students based on academic qualifications alone. Athletic accomplishments, extracurriculars, and character (however that is being defined) all are considered equally with academics. And having your parents make a seven-figure donation doesn't hurt.

    Setting aside my opinions on this process, which I am not going to share here, I will just say that I dislike the self-serving aspect of the push for an ever more-diverse matriculating class. It feels too much like a selling point for the school rather than a genuine desire to lend a helping hand to students who have had to overcome adversity to get to this point in their lives. Financial aid has improved, and there now are some resources to help first-generation college students, but I am not convinced that the "elite" schools are doing enough to ease the transition to college for the "diversity admits." And I am talking about economic/ cultural shock more than academics. Schoosl like Harvard and Stanford like to note that some 60-65% of their undergrads receive financial aid. That means 35-40% do not, which means that a significant minority of students come from high-income families.   
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  • rgambsrgambs Posts: 9,222
    I don't understand why anybody who isn't white and wealthy would even want to go there for undergraduate studies.
    There are dozens of universities with equal or surpassing academic reputation, without all the Ivy League silver spoon bullshit that comes along with the Harvard name.

    Graduate programs are a whole different ballgame.
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  • curmudgeonesscurmudgeoness San DiegoPosts: 1,986
    Well, I agree. My child opted for a small, academically excellent school and is thriving there. Harvard would have eaten him alive, he would have been miserable. There are many schools that offer better educations than the Ivies (and, on the topic of graduate programs, those grad programs know which schools turn out the best undergraduates, so attending a lesser-known school  is NOT a disadvantage when it comes to applying to big-name grad schools). Attending an Ivy probably is most useful for people who want to enter the business world.

    But smaller schools have smaller endowments, and, for some people, those smaller schools will be financially out of reach while the Ivies and Stanford will offer much more generous aid packages.

    There are great public universities, too, with excellent research facilities and a keen interest in attracting top students through scholarships and other enticements.
    All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.
  • cincybearcatcincybearcat Posts: 8,695
    Well, I agree. My child opted for a small, academically excellent school and is thriving there. Harvard would have eaten him alive, he would have been miserable. There are many schools that offer better educations than the Ivies (and, on the topic of graduate programs, those grad programs know which schools turn out the best undergraduates, so attending a lesser-known school  is NOT a disadvantage when it comes to applying to big-name grad schools). Attending an Ivy probably is most useful for people who want to enter the business world.

    But smaller schools have smaller endowments, and, for some people, those smaller schools will be financially out of reach while the Ivies and Stanford will offer much more generous aid packages.

    There are great public universities, too, with excellent research facilities and a keen interest in attracting top students through scholarships and other enticements.
    For me, smaller schools don;t play division 1 basketball so they never entered my thought process.  Not cause I can play but I wanted to root!! ;)

    There are so many different types of college experiences out there.  1 for almost anybody.  But - having a diploma with "Harvard" on it is going to get you in doors that would otherwise be closed.  It's just the way it is.  So I understand people wanting to get in.

    I do wish colleges (and the country) would get to the point where we didn't have to consider race for admissions.  It's such a bullshit reason to be admitted in a pure world.  
    hippiemom = goodness
  • curmudgeonesscurmudgeoness San DiegoPosts: 1,986
    Doing that requires fixing a lot of systemic problems and challenges that crop up long before college. :-(
    I don't think the big names open as many doors as you might expect them to, unless you want a job in consulting, investment banking, etc. They are more recognizable to the average person, but any success that graduates of those schools achieve is more likely due to their own efforts and talents than it is to having the school's name on their diploma. My hairstylist was awed when my kid visited Harvard and Yale and had no reaction to visits to Williams and Swarthmore, but the latter are better schools offering superior educations. Ivies are research institutions, and, despite the hype, undergraduate education is not their top priority.

    I think Ivies are a great option for some people, a terrible option for others. What they are not is the be-all and end-all of higher education.  
    All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.
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