Higher education roundup

  • Federal judge upholds Harvard’s admissions policy against charges of discrimination against Asian Americans, appeal likely [Anemona Hartocollis, New York Times; Roger Clegg/Martin Center; Neal McCluskey, Hechinger Report (“private institutions should be free to have affirmative action, but it should be prohibited at public institutions”); Ilya Shapiro, WSJ last year]
  • In Florida, following an initiative from Gov. Ron DeSantis, state universities expected to adopt versions of “Chicago Statement” committing to freedom of expression [Mary Zoeller, FIRE]
  • Under antitrust pressure from the U.S. Department of Justice, college association drops guidelines discouraging “poaching” students and other competition for enrollment. Could mean big changes in admissions process [Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed]
  • In case you missed this angle in the astounding Bruce Hay story earlier: Hay “has already run afoul of [Harvard] investigators for reaching out to journalists (namely me), which they view as an act of retaliation” under Title IX [Kera Bolonik]
  • “The Galling Push for a Student Debt Bailout” [Cato Daily Podcast with Christian Barnard and Caleb Brown] If more of the same is what you want, you’re in luck with the House majority’s new College Affordability Act [Neal McCluskey, Cato]
  • The story of Oberlin College’s town-gown legal debacle in the Gibson case [Abraham Socher, Commentary] Return of the loyalty oath, cont’d: update on University of California requirement that all faculty candidates “submit an equity, diversity and inclusion statement as part of their application” [Nora McNulty, Daily Bruin; Stephen Bainbridge; earlier] Professor at the New School exonerated after quoting James Baldwin [FIRE] Students at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, have a lot of sensitivity training in their futures. Coming to 4-H too? [Hans Bader]


  • Regarding Oberlin’s Town-Gown dispute, if you dig into Oberlin’s strategy in the litigation,it’s a real head-scratcher–in a lot of respects, Oberlin doubled down. And you have to wonder if Oberlin’s GC was asleep at the switch. Why in the world would you let an administrative dean get involved in protests on company time? Apparently, he or she missed the day in law school when they taught respondeat superior.

    The Oberlin verdict actually leaves me with mixed feelings. On one hand, the bakery was targeted, and it cannot be that one’s business is at the mercy of a figurative mob that gets in high dudgeon over the arrest of shoplifters. However, people do have the right to actually believe that shoplifters should be given mercy based on race and to believe that the withholding of the mercy is racist and can boycott and protest accordingly.

    What is upsetting to me personally is that young people apparently think this way. It does not bode well for our unity as a nation.

  • Re: discrimination against Asian-Americans.

    So let’s see, a group of young people, who share heritage from the largest continent in the world, have to be significantly better than everyone else. That’s bad enough, but the idea that they somehow aren’t “well-rounded” and are “boring grinds” and don’t have the pizzazz of others is as nasty and pernicious as one can dream up.

    And let’s not forget, these are kids. In order to achieve the academic success most have achieved, they’ve put in the work. And then you’re gonna tell them that their hard work is overridden by some nebulous quality of, for lack of a better word, pizzazz? It makes me sick to even think about it. How does one explain these realities to a kid? I’d like to see that federal judge go to a high school and do it.

  • Discrimination need not always be unfair discrimination. Asians make up 5.6 percent of the US population, and 23% of the Harvard class. They might wish to make that 50% as they have cracked the nut of the admissions game for checking all the boxes. Maybe it is OK that Harvard wishes to maintain something of a balance to the makeup of its product that it sends out to the market to represent the next generation of Harvard grads.

    Meanwhile blacks, Hispanics, and others are severely underrepresented, and face terribly unfair discrimination at so many points in their lives, from a parental wealth gap, low parental education, poor schools, poor health. Unfortunately for so many, Harvard and other selective colleges are not the place for many who can barely eke out a high school diploma, let alone be ready for college level work.

    Hard working students, Asians among them, can indeed succeed at any of a hundred other selective schools.

    • gasman, “Meanwhile blacks, Hispanics, and others are severely underrepresented” by what metric? Simple population percentages? That’s not the metric by which any achievement of merit (such as, getting into Harvard, or the NBA, or earning one meeeelion dollars) is measured. So by what metric is any particular group underrepresented?

    • Without getting into the “face discrimination” stuff, I will point out that (a) you are asking kids to suffer discrimination that they had nothing to do with and (b) that the way that Harvard is going at it is ok–even though it reeks of stereotyped thinking.

      And what of the black/Hispanics that have led so-called privileged lives? If some poor black kid who went to a terrible HS and who persevered through hard work is a Harvard applicant, then it is very likely that, objectively speaking, that applicant is better than someone who didn’t have to face those burdens, given scores etc. that are in the ballpark.. But that doesn’t appear to be the average favored student. But what you have instead is, often enough, poor Asian kids competing with middle class kids of other backgrounds. How is that fair?

      “Discrimination need not always be unfair discrimination. Asians make up 5.6 percent of the US population, and 23% of the Harvard class. They might wish to make that 50% as they have cracked the nut of the admissions game for checking all the boxes.”

      I truly hope that quote is more benign than it appears. “cracking the admissions game” is a synonym for hard work and a lot of extra-curriculars. It denigrates the accomplishments of students. And the reference to “they” is a bit off-putting. Honestly, and as someone who is a parent of high schoolers, I don’t like that my kids will be evaluated differently because their name is not Hu, Ming or Peng.

      I’d be currious what you think of the stereotypical thinking about the Asian kids that appears to be Harvard’s modus operandi.

  • Return of the loyalty oath, update on U C requirement that faculty candidates “submit an equity, diversity and inclusion statement as part of their application

    Would it be enough to attach the introductory part of the second paragraph of the Constitution: “We hold these truths to be self evident . . .”?

  • How about we stop legacy admissions? And, if it is about the money, let’s do it with a tax incentive: stop legacy admissions or lose non-profit status. Applicants should be accepted based upon merit, not depending upon whether their parent went to the school or donated tons o’ money.

    • “How about we stop legacy admission?” Um no. Legacy admissions have a place, and absent invidious discrimination, they are perfectly acceptable. Merit isn’t the only thing–if universities have generational connections, that is a good thing. Less is more when it comes to government regulation of institutions of higher learning.

      There is an argument that legacies should not be allowed at public universities.

      • If discrimination based upon generational connections are ok, why not discrimination on the basis of race. I would be remiss to point out that many of those “generational connections” are based upon race. That is, if your grandparent went to Harvard/Yale/Princeton in the 1940s, he was likely a white-anglo-saxon male, not because he was better qualified than non-anglo-saxon-males. While people can certainly say that “my family has gone to UVA/Texas/Alabama for generations,” they are only non-minorities.

  • And by Constitution I mean Declaration of Independence of course.