Asian-American admissions at Harvard

Here is basic NYT coverage of the case:

University officials did concede that its 2013 internal review found that if Harvard considered only academic achievement, the Asian-American share of the class would rise to 43 percent from the actual 19 percent.

Here is the plaintiff’s brief by Peter S. Arcidiacono.  Here is David Card’s brief in defense of Harvard and Asian-American admissions.  Here is Arcidiacono’s response to Card.

Gabriel Rossman noted on Twitter: “Once you control for lacrosse, founding an NGO in high school, legacy status, alumni evaluation of personality, woke personal essays, and a 23&me test for EDAR, there’s no effect”

My take is simple.  Harvard is risk-averse with respect to the stream of future donations, as are many other schools.  Asian-American admissions don’t have the same donating track record as the white students traditionally cultivated by Harvard and other top universities.  Either Asian-Americans may seek out “diaspora philanthropy,” or they simply may have a more cynical attitude toward top institutions that they basically have never had any control over.

Furthermore, there is a common fear — repugnant to me I should add — that if a student body becomes “too Asian,” many white students will be less interested in going there.  I taught at UC Irvine for several years and found it to be a delightful experience, but this is exactly what many schools are afraid of (the UCI student body is disproportionately Asian, and the honors class I taught in my first year had only one non-Asian student in it).

And so they come up with every excuse possible — sometimes cemented in by self-deception — for maintaining a “balanced” student body.

It is incorrect to call it “racism,” but it is non-meritocratic and we should move away from those attitudes as quickly as possible.

In related news, the University of Chicago is moving away from the use of SAT scores in admissions.  The cynical might suggest this is so they are more insulated from potential lawsuits and also so they have more discretion in admissions.  If Chicago feels the need to do this, perhaps the system really is buckling under the strain of all these outside pressures.

Nonetheless, I predict ultimately the status quo will not change very much.  I just don’t see a strong enough popular or judicial constituency for righting the wrongs done to Asian-Americans.  Some kind of partial concession will be made, various terms and standards will be somewhat redefined, and we’ll be back to “rinse and repeat.”  Meritocracy: can’t live with it, can’t live without it.

I am pleased to report that none of this tomfoolery goes on at my home institution, which is highly and truly diverse.


Perhaps the Chicago decision has significant economic and signaling benefits.

They can admit children of wealthy alums without dragging down average test scores, so long as their private schools give them good grades. In addition, more people will apply, so their selectivity percentage will improve. Since only good test takers will submit scores, the average test score will increase too. These latter two things appear cosmetic, but matter to school ranking agencies.

+1. Universities can and do gain access to standardized test scores by buying names and scores from the testing organizations for well under a dollar each, and if they are so inclined can match those names to applicants.

Bullshit. First Chicago does not give preferences to children of alums in admissions.

The stated reason for the change is that SAT and ACT scores are too correlated with income. They are claimed to discriminate against lower-income families. (I would remind Chicago that SAT ACT scores are also strongly correlated with parental education and that Chicago traditionally, disproportionally attracted the children of academics.) So to achieve a student population perceived as more diverse, while not looking like they are lowering standards, they dropped the SAT ACT requirement.

Blacks only make up 5% of the undergrads. Despite attempts over the years to increase that number, Blacks remain a small part of the student body. (In part, I am told, because the yield rate, Black students admitted who choose to attend, is lower for Chicago.) Whites have decreased to 43% of undergrads as Asians and Hispanics have increased. Hispanics are about 11%. Females are a slight majority.

Once upon a time, Chicago had a significant Jewish presence in the undergrad student body. That was a result, in part, of Jewish quotas at Ivy League schools. Chicago admissions were more merit-based, and they were more welcoming to non-WASP students than other top schools. (The Ivy league, notably Harvard, also discriminated against Catholics.)

Now Chicago, like many others, is becoming more interested in external signs of diversity (race) with less regard for merit. In my limited exposure to current undergrads at Chicago, I would think the Chicago admissions office would be more interested in a diversity of thought rather than an increasingly liberal bias in the student body.

Dropping the SAT ACT makes it easier to discriminate against whites and Asians in admissions. I would suspect that if you looked at who gets admitted to Chicago, Asians face an informal quota. Dropping objective standards for admissions hides these policies.

If you claim the need to get rid of the SAT ACT to find qualified smart students from lower-income families, you are lying. Poor kids, minority kids, can and do excel on these tests. If they do poorly on the tests than they need to demonstrate ways that they can still transcend or offer something unique to the school. Dropping the SAT ACT requirement just makes it easier to hide how you discriminate in admissions. The rest is bullshit.

I'm not sure Professor Cowen is right about the donor issue. Colleges are about meeting the needs of potential employers. Look at it as taking in a raw product, students, and producing something employers want to buy. A value-added approach. In some cases that means they look for outstanding potential scholars or they may look for other traits that employers desire. Leadership, team skills, potential rainmakers, connections, etc. Of course, that implies that employers may undervalue the skill sets that Asian students offer, they are either viewed as lacking or they are subject to racial discrimination in the job market.

I have been told that the most significant donors at schools were often rather average students. However, they were often involved in activities or sports that helped them form a deeper bond with the school. Perhaps that explains in part why schools look for "involved" students.

If you don’t think legacies of wealthy alums get preferences, you are woefully naive and have not been close to college fundraising.

Which is interesting because clearly donations are a form of fee. Wealthy parents pay a lot of money to get their children into Harvard, they do so directly through tuition and indirectly through gifts either before acceptance or later on.

Why not just simplify the entire system? Why not just make the fees at Harvard $500,000 with no expectation that people will be generous with the new library? You could lend them the money. In fact you could charge $1 million by lending them that much money and if half of them never pay, well at least you average $500,000.

Think of the bureaucracy you could get rid of at a place like Harvard. No more chasing up alumni. No more spurious justifications for the football team. Simple. So why don't they?

Being a donor, and having something named after you, is a very powerful incentive. It would be quite foolish to abolish that.

A Harvard degree is also a very powerful motivator.

Not everyone gets buildings named after them, but alumni are expected to send their colleges money. They have offices set up just to nag them into doing so. They will ring you at home, send letters, and so on until you do. Unfortunately if you do, they then send twice as many.

Why? Why not just charge the going rate upfront?

Because the existing system avoids the kind of regulatory oversight and public scorn that would come with your suggested "extreme" price discrimination, while retaining sub rosa price discrimination (through alumni contributions). Also, your plan would eliminate really big donations.

Chicago's admission office states they do not give legacies an advantage. Some claim that legacies are more likely to do Early Action which gives them an advantage. Also, Chicago traditionally was a small college and (by some estimates) fewer than 150 legacies a year apply. I have seen claims that Chicago alums are less likely to have their children attend Chicago (or even apply) than many colleges. Not sure why.

To Chicago's credit, they are claiming they are dropping the SAT ACT requirement to attract lower-income families and offering scholarships to families earning less than $125,000 a year. That is better than some elite colleges that brag about racial diversity but go after very wealthy minorities.

If you are the legacy of a major donor or have recommendations from a major donor, it might help. But what qualifies as a major donor is a question and the vast majority of applications do not fall into this category. In addition, being the legacy of a public figure or an academic superstar probably helps. Being a child of a public figure or an academic superstar probably helps regardless of legacy. Bill Gates son is reported to be attending Chicago this coming year. Did that help his chances? Who knows. It probably assured that his application was given careful consideration. Gates has never, that I am aware, made a major contribution to Chicago.

I'm told that legacies do not have to pay an application fee, so they do have that going for them.

As a UC alumnus, I'll venture that many alumni don't want their kids to pursue the same single-mindedly academic path they experienced. The school does not turn out well-rounded graduates. I still think it is the best university in the country, but if my kids didn't want to go there (and they didn't), I'd understand completely.

The insight that it gives them cover to admit poor test takers while discouraging those test takers from submitting scores is probably right on track.

If anyone is curious how this turns out, take a look at what has happened with Harvey Mudd in the last 15 years as they've kept half the student body the same and heavily compromised their standards to admit the "proper" mix of races and genders.... it's pretty ugly and has resulted in class after class where only half the students can handle the work that historically built the reputation of the college and there is a huge tension between the faculty and this lower performing cohort of students.

"It is incorrect to call it “racism,” but it is non-meritocratic and we should move away from those attitudes as quickly as possible." I am not sure why it is incorrect to call it so, but that's secondary. I am very happy to see that Tyler is taking a clear stance against this bigotry.

Of course it's racism and of course it goes on at Tyler's "home institution" and everywhere else. And it has nothing in the world to do with future alumni donations. Although I agree its good that Tyler is taking a stand against "this bigotry" (Harvard's bigotry against Asian-Americans) its just too bad Tyler's opposition to bigotry is so carefully tailored.

Applicants to every university in the US (and much of the rest of the world) are first sorted into racial and ethnic groups and then must compete within their designated group for educational opportunities. Competition between individuals across racial and ethnic groups is strictly forbidden because the wrong racial and ethnic groups would be successful to the wrong extent.

Racism. Was done before, Europe before WW2,to news.

Affirmative action is racism. These unfortunate debris from a strong affirmative action program have been discriminated against based on their race. It is intended to do exactly that. It is racism!

"that if a student body becomes 'too Asian,' many white students will be less interested in going there. "
This also happens when a neighborhood becomes 'too black' or 'too brown' or 'too poor.' I'm not sure why you wouldn't say this is racism. Liberals can be racist too.

Or “too white”

No one moves from a neighborhood that is too White. In fact pretty much all movement in America is towards neighborhoods that are as White as possible.

The quoted passage is a stunning example of Tyler's own racism. Is it really true that "White students" as a group wouldn't want to go to Harvard if it had "too many" Asian students? I can see that Harvard might be somewhat more intellectually challenging with more Asian students and that might discourage some of the more marginal White students from attending. Overall, however, I think the vast majority of White students would be very happy, overjoyed in fact, to attend an institution which valued them as individuals and for their intellectual achievements.

Sadly, no. "White students" is not where the problem lies. But Tyler can't help himself, in his mind only White students (and only a certain kind of White student) can be racist.

If it were really true that White students would refuse to attend Harvard if "too many" Asians were allowed in, Harvard (and Tyler) would only be too happy to see that happen.

pointless rhetoric. If the demographics of an institution change over time, then it isn't necessarily the case that the institution isn't also changed. It isn't necessarily "all good".

An anecdote: in Australia in the 1980s and 1990s, the top job for aspiration immigrants (from south east Asia, China, etc), was to be a Doctor. So the hard working children of immigrants dominated the medical departments at universities. But the motivation was the parents seeking high status jobs for their children, who didn't necessarily have much interest in medicine. So the universities did start needing to change their tests. I'm not sure if Lacrosse was one of the new requirements.

I disagree. It's perfectly natural to want to be around others like yourself, though I absolutely support this lawsuit, as I think if a moral standard is to be applied to the middle class, it should be applied to the elites as well.

Tyler is not wrong. It absolutely is true that some Whites will move away if a school is "too asian." He saw it first hand with UC Irvine but this has also happened in Silicon Valley (aka The New White Flight):

"whites weren’t quitting schools because the schools were bad ... more Asians just moved in"

Anyone who claims that White students will refuse to attend schools with a large number of Asian students is absolutely wrong and the experience of UC Irvine and other selective UC schools proves that point overwhelmingly.

Asians out number Whites at ALL of the most selective University of California campuses. The more selective the campus, the more Asians dominate admissions. That doesn't mean that White students don't want to go to Berkeley and UCLA; they just can't get in.

The problem in this particular discussion is the difference between too many Asians and too many African Americans. There are may cities, many places in cities where there are "too many blacks". I defy you to walk there most nights but especially Friday and Saturday nights from dusk to say 4:00 AM. Give it a try and you will understand. There are a few cities and places where there are "too many Asians" And people walk there all the time and especially Friday and Saturday nights.

Now is it "racism" to know this and to practice this (not walking in areas of too many African Americans after dark). Probably not, maybe you could debate it, but mostly it is simply good common sense. I know places like this (too many African Americans) where you can get great barbecue in little hole in the wall restaurants but watch yourself and be gone before the sun goes down because you may turn into something far worse than a pumpkin.

These days, the Older Whites people (Protestants, Catholics, and Jews) in SoCal tend to want to send their kids to private colleges back east rather than to UC schools. Caitlin Flanagan wrote in The Atlantic about 15 years ago about her days as a college counselor at Harvard-Westlake prep school in the Hollywood Hills and how desperate parents were to send their kids to places like Wesleyan and NYU 3,000 miles away even though the zillionaire parents often had degrees from UCLA and had done very, very well for themselves.

In contrast, the Newer Whites in LA from the Ottoman and Russian empires often want to send their kids to one of the better junior colleges, like Pasadena or Glendale, followed by transfer to UCLA. It's cheap, their kids can live at home and commute, and UCLA is a world famous college so their relatives back home in Armenia or Kiev will be impressed.

"all movement in America is towards neighborhoods that are as White"
This makes me think you live in a cave. Every heard of gentrification? You don't know a single hipster do you? You know, white people who move into minority-majority neighborhoods to be trendy, virtue signaling scenesters. Take Detroit which is majority black, seeing a big influx of Whites. Take Boyle Heights, which is majority brown, seeing the same thing. Heck, Los Angeles is over 50% Hispanic and the Whites keep moving in even with the unrealistic real estate pricing. They love it there.

That was a spectacularly good example of selective editing to make it look like I said something I did not. Brilliant.

But I accept your point about hipsters in Brooklyn and the like. Blacks are being pushed out of some inner city areas. But Atlanta would be a better example rather than Detroit.

Furthermore, there is a common fear — repugnant to me I should add — that if a student body becomes “too Asian,” many white students will be less interested in going there.

So it is repugnant (to you) and common. No challenge to its accuracy, I see.

Many liberals are indeed racists and like to call others who disagree with them racists.

I'm with Xun and Shen - if it looks like racism, and it walks like racism, and it quacks like racism, probably it IS racism!

Yep. And I'm pretty sure if a group of prole whites acted to keep their school, neighborhood, church, ect. from becoming "too Asian," there would be no qualms about calling them "racist." It is only the privileged Whites who must be treated with the kid gloves. This is just Tyler signalling.

He's said he finds it repugnant, didn't he?

Yeah, I'm not sure where the "not racist" bit is. Discriminating against Asians because you're afraid they won't donate is no less racism than discriminating against black tenants because you're afraid they'll deal drugs. Which is to say, blatantly racist.

What makes you think the students who don't want to go to an institution that is "too Asian" are liberal?

1. Offenders all seem to be liberal, and 2. Conservatives /Libertarians promote competition vs Liberals attack it. A college being 'too Asian' is about too many smart people to compete against.

Thank you for taking a public stance on this issue Tyler. You have a lot of reach, and I suspect you may underrate the amount of influence that your blog posts have. Here's hoping to positive reforms in higher education!

+1. I also enjoy the seemingly new array of clear stances.

Yeah -- claiming this is not racism is definitely a "clear stance."

Believe it or not you can actually take a side on something without labeling somebody/something as racist, sexist, etc.

US universities may be moving away from the SAT but they are increasingly accepting gaokao scores from China.

Interesting tension between individual and group. Harvard is coveted first for signaling, second for access to the standing “establishment” power base and perhaps a distant third the education.

Each individual admit wants the rest of the class to be establishment. If Harvard admitted all middle-class strivers (of any race) that would defeat the purpose and appeal of access to establishment.

Signaling would still probably survive see: CalTech

Correct. To a considerable extent, contact with "establishment" students is a commodity which Harvard sells to its students/parents (interestingly, this is a commodity which is mostly sold to, and most valued by, other establishment students/parents). Admitting students to Harvard on the basis of strict meritocracy might actually increase the nominal signaling value of a Harvard degree but it would greatly reduce the networking value (which is far and away the most important).

As a result, although it is difficult for Asian-American students to be admitted at Harvard, "non-establishment" White students are almost never admitted. The White quota (of course, there's a White quota, you can't have a Black quota and an Asian quota without also having a White quota) is filled by people with the right connections. It is quite normal for White students to be rejected by Harvard and other selective schools despite meeting admissions criteria which would result in an acceptance for a member of any other group, including Asians.

I sometimes think that the apparent hatred of "non-establishment" Whites which you find in selective universities is best understood as an outgrowth of modern admissions practices. Administrators hate them because they are the "chaff" which must be separated from the establishment students administrators value as a source of donations, staff and professors hate them because they take their social cues from administrators.

Faculty do not take their cues from anyone but other faculty (or administrators derived from the faculty). I think if you carefully question them, very few on the staff buy into the Official Idea where they work. They're there for the bennies.

I do not claim any special knowledge. Human nature being what it is, however, I have a hard time believing that universities are so very different from other institutional hierarchies.

Doesn't matter if you believe it or not. Faculty respect faculty. The rest are tedious suits or pairs of hands. As for the hourly staff, the architectonic mission of the school doesn't interest them. Their specific job, their specific supervisor, open enrollment, and parking spaces are what interest them. If they interact with students, they measure them on scales pleasant v. unpleasant, reliable v. unreliable, self-entitled v. normal, noisy v. quiet, and intoxicated v. sober.

When asked about emptying the Japanese Concentration Camps in California, the bloggers famously said:

" I just don’t see a strong enough popular or judicial constituency for righting the wrongs done to Asian-Americans. "

Also see the Chinese Exclusion Act.

The traditional group you turn to if your non-white race is discriminated against is the Democrats. The Democrats are unlikely to help Asians who are at best loosely attached to their party at the expense of a group that is strongly attached to their party.

Arcidiacono also wrote a rebuttal to Card's analysis, available here:

Thought experiment: if Asian students became the biggest per-capita donors, or even the biggest per-capita donors on an equal-wealth or equal-income basis, what would happen?

Probably what would happen is whatever is the most stylish thing when the policies are discussed in Cambridge cocktail parties. People tend to make the decisions their friends approve of (although Harvard stopped holding the line against Jews in the 30s when they actually ran out of New England thoroughbreds who could pay the tuition, so there is some history of their being overwhelmed by, well, events).

The ostensible rationale for considering race in admissions is that universities believe that diversity contributes to educational quality for all students. (I believe it would be unconstitutional for universities to consider race for traditional affirmative action reasons, i.e., to redress past discrimination.) However, we have had a natural experiment for about 10-20 years, with Michigan and Berkeley prohibited by state constitutions from considering race in admissions. As far as I know, no one has claimed that educational quality at Michigan and Berkeley has declined in the last 10-20 years relative to peer institutions, nor have I heard of any employers that are now more reluctant to hire Michigan or Berkeley graduates. (Minority enrollment has declined at both places, but there has been no measurable decline in educational quality.) Doesn't that suggest that universities don't actually need to consider race in admissions to obtain whatever educational benefits are conferred by diversity? For example, maybe faculty and students compensate in other ways to gain the educational diversity benefits even if raw minority enrollment numbers are lower.

Diversity between social classes would probably do real good, but elites are filled with a condescending hatred (of the group) and terror (of the individuals).

They play at skin-color diversity, and pay lip-service to the homeless to assuage their guilt. I believe Hesse wrote that we hate most in others what we recognize in ourselves.

the UC schools in California didn't stop admitting a "quota" of Black and Latino students (though the quantity did decline a little bit) it simply used "holistic" considerations of applicants which found a sufficient number of non-Asian minorities to meet secretive "goals."

Is Harvard's tax-exempt status, like Bob Jones University, revocable due to discrimination?

would be cool. Even better revoke it across the board. Not like Universities are idealistic institutions doing everything for the common good, or education (inngeneral) being desperately scarce to justify a massive tax break

Thinking through this for a state school. Of course, they are pubkic when it is advantagos to be and private when it suits them

And here I thought the definition of racism was treating others differently based on their skin color. I must be old fashioned.

We’re gonna need new after school specials that instead show that disparate impact is the real racism, unless it affects Asians. Asians don’t count.

Maybe we can open a new Federal Office of Equality and Anti-Racism to explain why it’s racist to NOT judge Asians for for their skin color.

Something something Orwellian...

You can also legally stick them in concentration camps vis a vis Korematsu. All it takes is a presidential executive order. Speaking of which, if Trump is continuing his pardon spree, he might want to line one up for Korematsu. Somewhat venal, but a cheap, effective way to curry votes.

>And here I thought the definition of racism was treating others differently based on their skin color

Very wrong. The definition of racism is when you aren't in my faction.

My take is simple. Harvard is risk-averse with respect to the stream of future donations, as are many other schools. Asian-American admissions don’t have the same donating track record as the white students traditionally cultivated by Harvard and other top universities.

If Harvard only considered academic achievement, the Asian share would increase to 43%, but the white share would also increase from its current 50% to 57%. So if Harvard wanted more white alumni donations, only considering academic achievement would further that end. Moreover, it's hard to believe that Chinese oligarchs and the like with connections to Harvard would be less likely to donate to Harvard if donating means the greater likelihood that their kids would get into Harvard.

The donations explanation doesn't seem very plausible. What is entirely plausible is the simple reason that people naturally feel uncomfortable with a minority taking a disproportionate number of admissions. This explanation only sounds weird because we're supposed to pretend that nobody feels this way and because Harvard purports to uphold some sacred cause of non-discrimination and equality and browbeats any other institution that might be discriminatory.

The second paragraph is exactly right. Probably the first too.

Then-President Lowell held the line against admitting Jews in any large number for a long time, until he ran out of Saltonstalls who could pay tuition. Harvard is now well aware that the Jews they turned away in favor of less bright New England thoroughbreds made lots of money and gave it to their schools and not to Harvard.
The joke about Abbot Lawrence Lowell was that there were three cities in Mass. named for him, which were they?
Um, Lawrence, and um, Lowell and ...
wait for it ...
it's coming...
(or, depending on your audience, Athol)

CalTech, which deliberately does not play the "diversity" game nearly to the extent that universities like Harvard do, has an undergraduate student body that has become 42% Asian and only 29% white and yet its endowment is $2.6 billion and is raking in money from Asian donors around the world. Harvard must be afraid that its development office is filled with mediocrities.

Oh my God. Could this post get any more Straussian? I can imagine the conflicted look on Tyler's face as he wrote it: the terror of walking so close to The Line and the temptation to burst into crazy laughter.

Tyler is good at it, and enjoys it!

I don't think there's a huge amount of room to debate here; if the Ivy League is a finishing school for the American elite, that elite *cannot* become anything like 50% Asian.

It just cannot.

You can talk a good game about "The American Dream" and such gumpf, but no society can have a elite which is anything like 50% compromised of a minority of an ethnic group on a par with 2-3% of the population, and have anything like a good outcome.

And the idea that Asian-Americans *should* be allowed to become a social elite in America merely because they work hard and care about education is a total croc.

Now, if you dethrone the Ivy from their position, then there's more room to change. But obviously the Ivy *like* their status as a finishing school for the elite, and they'd rather restrict Asian applicants than lose it.

Asian-Americans are social climbers just like everyone else. Graduation from an elite American university puts an Asian-American at a higher social level than other Asian-Americans. If more Asian-Americans were accepted to Harvard the value of a Harvard degree would decrease in the Asian-American community. Current Asian-Americans at Harvard are probably happy with the status quo, the Asian-Americans at Tacoma Community College are less satisfied. Why uncolored Americans might care about the situation is a mystery.

Asian-Americans are social climbers just like everyone else. G

Actually, the vast majority of people aren't social climbers at all, except in the rather banal sense that impecunious people would generally like their children to have better jobs than they did. Professional-managerial types (and patricians) are commonly anxious about inter-generational downward mobility because (among those in middle age) its markers are so common among them.

Meh, I'm probably "racist," but I don't see why a 50% Asian elite would be any worse than the elite we already have. In any case "a elite which is anything like 50% compromised of a minority of an ethnic group on a par with 2-3% of the population" is approximately the case today. On this subject, I always remember to separate out those who really are White from a certain group of people who "look white," if you know what I mean.

Chad, if the word "Jews" disgusts you so much that you can't even write it, yes, you're (more than "probably") a racist. No need to thank me, I'm always happy to help.

I don't think they are comparable. Just for a few points:

A Chinese and Indian elite would identify strongly with two major nascent superpowers; the Ashkenazi elite never identified even with Russia (yes, some, disproportionately, were Communist traitors, but it's not on the same scale).

Worse, both will identify strongly with different cultural traditions going back thousands of years. The Ashkenazi elite never had any interest in airbrushing out the Enlightenment (indeed they are very positive to the Haskalah!), while Chinese and Indian elites probably have an interest in promoting the idea that the Great Divergence never happened, and that the great enrichment of the West is due to colonialism, robbery and theft, and that "of Western civilization ... (t)hat would be a good idea".

The Ashkenazi elite, while less warm to gentiles than they could be, would never promote ideas of a deep wrongness in culture rooted in Abrahamic religion as a whole. The Chinese and Indians seem like they are much more open to this.

This may seem ideological to you, but if the elite of the US held to any of these with significantly more strength, these would ultimately have major impacts on the ability of the US to continue to function as a Western and European identity nation. Even with a increasingly SJW elite, it's a sketchy enough proposition.

I don't know that they would be worse than the contemporary hostile elite.

Being more readily identifiable with foreign powers can also disincentivize aligning interests with them too much. One of the factors that makes the contemporary hostile elite particularly insidious is that it is less readily identifiable and there is an elaborate system of strong taboos against identification. The average American feels that there is something wrong with the country and that there is a hostile elite that he does not identify with and that is promoting a culture and policies that he rejects, but he is prohibited from actively identifying this hostile elite. This would be less the case if the elite were more readily apparent.

The anti-Western, multicultural, postcolonialist narrative has been pioneered, developed, and aggressively promoted by the contemporary hostile elite. If a new elite continued promoting this narrative, there wouldn't really be a change, and to the extent that the new elite were more readily identifiable with non-Western traditions, the narrative would have less legitimacy and there'd be greater pushback.

The contemporary hostile elite is not critical of Abrahamic religion as a whole because it is not critical of Islam and Judaism. But it is and has been quite vociferously critical of Christianity. Incidentally, the only active Christians you even see on elite university campuses are among the Oriental students.

Having said all this, I agree with your original comment that these elite institutions can't become disproportionately comprised of a very small minority. For better or worse, the legitimacy of these elite institutions is based to a significant extent on the notion that they represent the US and that representation is an important value.

The NBA is 75% black but they only make up 15% of the population! We can't let this tiny minority destroy our sacred institutions!


Moral of the story is meritocracy is the rule not the exception. Arguing for quotas is bad for society.

Yeah, the NBA is equivalent to the American elite in its cultural power. The Japanese are finding their sumo to be taken over by Polynesians and Mongolians (such meritocracy!), so why not just give their elite over to Europeans, same difference, right?

(Not surprising a a comment from a tendency whose most memorable signature impact on public political debate is to ask "What is a leppo?")

We cannot have an elite full of eater rice, noodles, and curry. It would be a very stinky elite or should I say stinky "ereet."

Maybe if America is so bad, Asians should go back to Asia.

Except that majority of Asian American applicants were born in this country so you can stop your racist comments right there!

"Except that majority of Asian American applicants were born in this country so you can stop your racist comments right there!"

1) A few years ago, I read about Koreans from Korean were cheating their way into Harvard. Basically memorizing a few sentences for their entrance essays and afterwards showing up to classes with barely any English skills.

2) Asians can go back to their pure ethnostates. It is not like Japan, for example, is going out of its way to welcome foreigners. What is the share kf Westerners at Todai?! I am sick and tired of seeing Western countries surrendering to Asian despotism and barbarism without a fight. Trump normalizing Kim is just part of the wider phenomenon.

Wow. I thought it was merely Thiago v. Japan but now you've opened up new fronts: Thiago v. East Asia!

I have to say, the odds don't appear to be in your favor. It didn't work out well for the Tank Man in 1989.

So that's it!! The Mongolians will prevail!! We must surrender and go quietly in thnight of totalitarism!!

Don't be silly, Thiago has always been at war with Eastasia

What's with nativity citizenship anyway? The logic of it certainly isn't 100% positive. It's merely a convention. A child born at sea isn't a citizen of no where. If a baby is born on an airplane in US airspace is she a US citizen? Could a person claim dual citizenship by being born exactly on the border of two different countries? Penalizing or rewarding individual human beings on the basis of their location of birth, a matter in which they had no choice, seems more barbaric than policies of the bygone Comanches.

Sure, just as soon as you send back the Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, German-Americans...

Italy, Ireland and Germany are American allies. They do not establish racist ethnostates. One can not compare. Also, who exactly talks about German-Americans these days? They are simply Americans who may like sausage and maybe can speak German. And they do not complain about being oppressed by Americans.

I get the feeling its not asian-americans who are complaining about the oppression. They are just a tool used to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the left.

So that is it. America must surrender to a foreign fifth-column because the Left is full of hypocrisy..

I went to Harvard. I have a biracial family, if you want to put it that way. I do recall once in a chemistry section realizing that every other person in the section was Asian; because it was brought to my attention.

The Chans (Public Health), etc, have started donating in a big way. Donations come substantially from the tails. It isn't what drives any proposed bias. However, be careful with the underlying measure of 'academic achievement' used in this argument. I was a Westinghouse Semifinalist, for example, and Harvard values the kinds of achievements that don't show up on tests much more than one would expect or could reasonably measure. "Woke personal essays" is not quite a fair description, but the kind of individual achievement in odd directions, enabled by parental support... being the top national jazz kazoo artist with three recordings rather than being the top ranked violinist, for example... that's the kind of difference.

Understanding this will also explain why the case of Harvard will be a poor model for other schools, say the UCs; and why the 'anti-meritocratic' argument is nonsense of a particular kind. It severely constrains what it accepts as legitimate merit, because Harvard is extremely meritocratic, frankly in some unhealthy ways.

" being the top national jazz kazoo artist with three recordings rather than being the top ranked violinist, for example... that's the kind of difference."

Well, the thing about these "holistic admissions considerations" is that Asian parents pay attention to these things. When it was decided that applicants must play sports, the Tiger cubs were told to enroll in sports even though many of them had no aptitude or inclination to do so. When they were told they needed to win these competitions created by and for rich White and Jewish people, they were soon flooded with Asians, who now win the large majority of them. And yet the goalposts keep moving every few years. Now, it's not enough to be the top ranked violinist, now you need to be the top "national jazz kazoo artist." But surely, the goal is merit, not excluding certain disfavored groups....

Well, the admission process of good universities can be unhealthy in several different ways. I believe that both you Chad and BenK are correct.

If you want to be dismissive, I think you will need to try a tiny bit harder. You might criticize the current trend as 'excellence in snowflakieness' for instance, by saying that favoring the setting of divergent diverse goals and avoiding direct competition with clear and traditional rubrics, the admission process selects for people who have escaped scrutiny rather than borne up under it. But I don't think selling it as a proxy for racism is something that can be substantiated.
What we can say is that by chasing the last winner, the parents are falling into line with exactly what is being discouraged; and that the school is looking for children (or at least parents) who express a different kind of entrepreneurial creativity, or at least some facsimile of the currently valorized entrepreneurial spirit.

The blacks and Hispanics who are admitted instead of the Asians will donate more? What is the logic behind that assumption?

It appears as if some minorities is more equals than others.

Before commenting, one should read the briefs and expert reports linked above. The plaintiff's expert is well disputed in the expert report by Card.

Sorry, David Card.

In other words, Tyler is presuming that what is asserted is true. Let's see what the judge's decision is and also look at the expert reports for yourself; otherwise, you are just being led by your nose by someone or your instincts.

I read the report.

What in it, specifically, do you find persuasive?

I doubt he actually read it. He's just making an appeal to (self-appointed) authority.

I did look at the report. The burden is on the plaintiff. When the plaintiff expert omits variables, and admitted factors that are included in the admission process, you have to know he did it for a reason, because otherwise you would include those variables in your plaintiff expert report to make it unobjectionable. In the real world, experts often do trial runs to see how the data looks: in this case, the plaintiff's expert chose to ignore variables that reduced the explanatory of his assertion.

Hanging Chad, go read pages 24-40.

The variables are not exogenous.

Let’s say We have a man named Fred, and he’s the king of admissions to Nazi Harvard.

The problem is there’s all these Jews and Asians and other minorities that score above the ubermensch! Quelle horror! What’s a racist to do?

Ok, says Fred. He has an idea, you see. He will turn the metrics into subjective criteria. Let’s call it fuck let’s call it personal score.

Oh noes! The evil untermensch are suing !

No problem, say the supporters! The study supporting the lawsuit is wrong, because it OMITS the subjective bullshit criteria.

Omitted variable bias, the racist econometrician cry!


I am reading Chad's report and I think you, Hmm (Jfc), have perfectly summarized his bad-faith argument.

So Harvard lives a grade from 1 to 5 (1 is perfect) in four categories, "academic", "athletic", "extra-curricular", and "personal". Exhibits 4 and 5 pages 28 and 29 are especially interesting and essentially destroys the argument Card is trying to make. For instance, Card insists that there are two many applicants with absolutely perfect (hence indistinguishable one form another) academic credentials for Harvard to take them all, so Harvard has too use other criterion. But Exhibit 1 shows that Harvard gave a perfect academic score of 1 (computed using GPA, SAT, etc. according to some house formula) to only 663 applicants in six years, or roughly 110 per year, in clear contradiction with what Card said earlier. Among those 663, only 68% were admitted (by contrast, 88% of the 1,340 students over six years with 1 in athletics were admitted).

But of course the main problem, as you say, is in the use of the two ill-defined categories of political affiliation and purity of blood -- oh sorry, I mean Extra-curricular and Personal.

If you have ever interviewed students applying to college who are extremely introverted, asocial, poorly communicative and downright strange you would understand why giving weight to interviews is important. And, if a college wants to have a competitive sports team, so be it.

All that being said, you can't ignore the potential for interviewers to have bias. But, at the same time, you cannot ignore the other variables that go into the decision making process either.

Mr. “Go read the study” why don’t you stop trolling and read the study?

Alumni interviewed Asians and there’s no difference in “personal” score.

Admissions (what’s the word Art Deco uses?) apparatchiks DID rate Asians differently , to a statistically significant level, EVEN when those same prospective students were rated highly in alumni interviews.

Go back to Vox or Motherjones.

I did read the study and responded with the facts. I also have interviewed high achieving college applicants in my life, and can tell you that there are students who have high test scores and are socially inert. That being said, I do think that interviewers can have biases. As for your conclusion, which I don't understand after having read Card's analysis, just because that is the conclusion you draw doesn't mean it is supported in the evidence, nor is it supported in Card's paper. You're the one who should read.

"If you have ever interviewed students applying to college who are extremely introverted, asocial, poorly communicative and downright strange you would understand why giving weight to interviews is important."

Nope, still don't understand it. We need to give all the slots to people who are already party-bros at 18 yo? An 18 yo with some social problems can never be successful in life and should be given up on???

Greg, Your mocking comment suggests you believe that dumb white guys would be the beneficiaries.

Sorry to disappoint.

Also, a perfect score of 1 when the rating is 1 to 5 is not the measure, given in particular that there were only 600 or so candidates in that category existed over six years. I hope you would understand that you would look at the distribution for each of the categories 1 through 5 as Card did.

Actually it's clear from that alone that they are wrong in saying too many applicants have the same academic score to take the top academic qualifiers. They've destroyed the granularity by transforming it into a integer between 1 and 5, that's all.

I think this post misses the obvious point - Affirmative Action is not about diversity. It is about ideological conformity. The purpose of AA is to reduce the number of likely Republican-voters and increase the number of likely Democrat-voters on campus. That is all.

Traditionally Asian Americans have been associated with Hong Kong, Taiwan and refugees from Communism. So they need to be kept out. These days their vote is shifting to the Left. They are reliably Leftist. So there is no point keeping them out any more. So "diversity" policies on campus will change to reflect that.

After all, if there is a problem with too many minorities and a lack of diversity, Jews would be discriminated against. Or at least poor Whites from West Virginia would not be treated the same as Jewish people from New York. Just as California did not treat Asians from anywhere but North-East Asia the same as it did those from Confucian countries. But Jews are a reliable vote bank for the Left so no university tries to keep them out.

Correct. The left say that race is just a construct. So following that reasoning, there should be limits on Jewish enrollment as well, but by many calculations, Jews represent the largest "white" group at Harvard with up to 40% of the white entering class. If they can do it to Asians, why not demand the same for Jews?

The day that quotas on Jews get enforced is the day elites start opposing anti-Asian AA.

Of course as already mentioned Harvard had at one time a Jewish quota:

Harvard (and most university) still has a Jewish quota. It is equal to the White quota.

America is 77% White. It is about 1.7% Jewish.

By refusing to separate out the Jewish community from the rest of the White population, the Ivy League in fact has no quota for Jews. No college admits a student body that is 77% Jewish.

But by all means, let's agree in the interests of fairness and diversity, the Ivy League should take no more than 2% Jewish students. Or as that sounds a little harsh, can we agree that they should take 98% of their students from all the other communities in America that are not Jewish? They should admit Jews at the same rate as Mormons given the communities are about the same size? After all, think of the cultural enrichment taking more Amish could bring!

Jews (and Arabs and Turks, too, for that matter) are considered as white, and therefore are discriminated against in university's admissions, SMFS, in the same proportion as white people in general are discriminated against (that is, probbaly less than they were discriminated against in the 1920's, but still quite a bit).

They are mildly discriminated against, at best, by "hiding" within the larger category of Whites. Although the people who suffer from AA are the Whites at the margins - those that just got in. Those people are vastly more likely to be the children of West Virginian cola miners than the children of New York lawyers. New Yorkers are also more likely to know someone - Sheryl Sandberg's entire career has been based on knowing the right people - and to know what hoops you have to jump through to make your non-curriculars look good.

So I am doubtful that Jews are discriminated against even within the category of Whites. In fact I would be willing to bet that a Jewish student needs a lower SAT to be accepted than a non-Jewish White student much less someone named Billy Bob.

Ask Jerrod Kushner whose father made a large donation to Harvard to get him in.

And those of you pushing this meme know that just how?

- Sheryl Sandberg's entire career has been based on knowing the right people -

She's a doctor's kid from South Florida. It's doubtful family connections mattered in building her career. She landed a position at McKinsey because she'd been an academic super-achiever. She landed a position at Facebook because she'd worked at Google. Google had a couple-hundred employees when they hired her.

So I have a proposal for simplifying the whole mess. Universities should achieve diversity by taking a proper random sample. Not just ethnically but also geographically.

So if New Jersey is 3% of America's population, Harvard should take 3% of their students from Jersey. But within that, if 18% of New Jersey's population is Italian American, 18% of Harvard's students from New Jersey should be Italian American.

Can we both agree this would absolutely gut the number of Jews attending Ivy League colleges?

Replacing a bad quota system with another bad quota system is the height of idiocy.

I disagree. The obvious problem is simply corruption. The Ivy League is genteely corrupt. You can buy yourself a ticket in, but not openly and only in an acceptably Upper Middle Class way.

They need a system that is less corrupt by being more transparent. Going for an open quota system is probably not too bad. George W Bush, while governor of Texas, send the top few percent of every high school to college. It is a way of helping Blacks and Hispanics without a formal quota - and it is very transparent.

There is no non-quota choice here. America has decided that Harvard needs a certain number of Blacks. OK. Then how is that best achieved? Not the way they are doing it.

The Ivy League has always had regional quotas. That is why we, with good grades and SAT's and graduating from a high school with a good track record of attending students could be assured of getting into the college of our choice.
At least that was the way of the world in the 50"s and 60's.

I can certainly agree that taking a proper geographic sample would reduce the number of Jews. As would do just admitting every student at random... So what?

My point is simple. We agree that there is an implicit quota limiting white
admission at Harvard and that this quota is an "active constraint" in the sense of micro-economists, that is that without it the proportion of white admitted would be higher. The existence of this quota increases the threshold a member of the white group must exceed to be admitted. Absent further subgroup distinctions (that no one has accused Harvard to use), this new threshold is the same for every individual member of the "white group", be he of Norwegian or of Algerian descent, rich or poor, Jew or Gentile. In this sense every individual considered by Harvard to be in this white group is discriminated against at the exact same level. On the other hand, members of the group of people that Harvard considered Asian are, clearly, even more discriminated against...

Now if you ask the question of whether a given subgroup of say the white is more or less discriminated than another subgroup of the same group,
then we have to make the question more precise and say what we mean by a "subgroup is more discriminated than another", because I can imagine many definitions leading to different results. Certainly, the discrimination against every white individuals at Harvard would not affect a given subgroup, say the Jews if you like, if all Jews were well above the admission threshold, of if all of them were well below. Certainly neither of those is the case, so the discrimination against white people apply to the Jews as a subgroup. Does it apply more or less than to your preferred other subgroup? I don't know, and don't even know what the question means precisely.

I phrased that poorly - I mean a representative sample, not allowing a random sample of students in. Some university programs in Europe take a random selection - in the Netherlands some medical programs randomly select students from those who have the minimum academic requirement for instance. But I do not recommend that.

I agree that in theory every member of the White group is discriminated against equally. But not in practice. The system exists to reward the Upper Middle Class who live in the North-East. Those with social capital. However it is not true that every member of the Asian group is discriminated against equally. At least they were not in the Californian system. Because Samoans do not have the same educational outcomes as the Chinese. Nor do Thais or Filipinos. So it is unfair to include them in the same group. The UC system lifted those groups out so that the "Asian" category came to consist entirely of East Asians from a Confucian background. Which, if you are going to do this sort of thing, is fair enough.

Harvard does not do that for Whites. I am willing to bet they do not do that for non-Confucian Asians with the possible exception of South Asians either. Because I think their aim is to exclude Republicans. They merge groups or split groups entirely according to how politically convenient it is to further their aim of pushing the academy left. Filipinos do not vote Republican - how does Harvard treat them?

On the other hand, how do they treat Ashkenazi Jews? If Harvard in fact had a broad category of "Asian" - one that included Fijians and Laotians - then it would be easier for Chinese Americans to get into Harvard. But if they say "diversity" means more Malays, then the Chinese Americans are going to lose out. Which is what happened in the University of California system. They do have a broad category of "White". If they said that diversity required more West Virginians, then some other members of the group "White" would lose. Then they might say diversity means more White Georgian share croppers' sons. Or Oregon loggers' children. The losers would be the more over-represented groups in the end as the category "White" would become the equivalent of UC's "Asian". Once they have lifted all the under-performing groups out only the over-performing groups would be left.

There is no case for them not to do this. But they don't. Because the aim is not diversity but stuffing the universities of America with Leftists. So they define groups, they split or merge, in such a way that they get to exclude groups who might vote Republican and include groups that do not.

This is not fair and we would all be better off with a more transparent system.

I was shocked to read 1/3 of Harvard's 2021 class are legacy admissions. Was this known previously? Why is there not more outrage about this? I'm shocked it's anywhere near this high.

(Not to downplay the racial discrimination against Asian applicants, which is utterly shameful as well)

Not being a legacy myself, I should say, my time at the school was enriched by knowing a Saltonstall (quite literally).

Tom, you can see the effect in the defendant's expert report. David Card's expert report is worth reading and I think successfully attacks the plaintiff's expert report. But, there are no headlines in that.

Did you read the rebuttal to Card (linked above) -- that specifically called out the statistical maneuvers Card performed to hide the Asian descrimination?

Did you read Card's response. Guess not. I didn't see it either. I did read Card's response and it was good. By the way, when the reply acknowledges that it omitted data and agreed with the defense analysis on points raised by it, you have to question how many times you get to test things, particularly when the significance declines with each iteration.

Meant Card's reply to Arcidioano's response to Card. Card's reply to the plaintiff expert was quite clear. You don't have to do fancy math if you omit variables identified as relevant to the admission decision.

Imagine the massive outrage there would be if blacks were systematically discriminated against like that based on subjective factors.

Maybe America should get an objective measure system like Brazil's. One test for everyone measuring objective knowledge.

Yes, I like that idea. I was told Brazil uses racial quotas that require them to reserve positions for members of ethnic minorities unless an insufficient number apply. Is this true?

There are racial quotas (it is fairly recent and not all public universities do the same ammount of affirmative action -- state institutions and the military have more freedom to set their standards), but what I mean is, both people competing for quota spots and people competing for non-quota sports have their school subjects knowlege objectivelly evaluated. How much Math they know? How much History? No one asks how many soup kitchens they worked at and how much they hate Trump and how well the play flute. You do not have to have the qupta part if you do not want, but the objective evaluation thing seems to be pretty good. Mr. Feynman himself said Brazilians students knew all physics equations.

What Feynman said was that the Brazilian students knew all of the equations, but only by rote; they didn’t know how to apply them to new problems, new situations. But you, being a fake Brazilian, problem knew that already :-/

I read the book. My point is, B Brazilian university selection is the most rigorous in the West. We do not ask how many sonatas our future Engineer students composed or how many ladders of soup our future doctors served. We believe in merit!!

Too many people worry way too much about all the unfair advantages black people get in America today.

No, Hazel. People are irritated by the damage to institutional culture (in several spheres) which comes from the social fiction that mascot groups have some je-ne-sais-quoi which renders their presence necessary without regard to other considerations and which comes from the presence of a visible (and dissatisfied) subculture chock-a-block with students having academic problems. They're also concerned with the deadweight loss incurred by the institution and the student in question by placing said student in an environment which is suboptimal for him.

The comments are less bad than I expected.

FWIW, I think it is less important that Harvard have a perfect system than that many schools try many things.

And who knows, maybe we'll chortle someday when UCI's endowment passes that of Harvard.

I don't disagree that many schools should try many different things: I am all about using schools and workplaces as testing grounds for innovative ideas. But could we at least begin with using evidence-based approaches to education that are reasonably well-established? Educational institutions don't even seem to implement those. College is mostly about getting a rubber stamp than it is about actually learning anything useful in the first place.

I believe college completion rate is being taken more seriously. That is something.

U of C =! UCI

opps, I see that you meant UCI as UC Irvine, nevermind.

There isn't one aspect of higher education today that isn't disfigured by something stupid or ignoble. That Harvard is shivving Oriental youths and their parents (and deceiving the public about it) is par for the course. Screw 'em. Memo to Tiger Moms: the flagship campus in your state will do just fine.

The Chan brothers have given $350 million to Harvard. Second largest gift in Harvard’s history. I don’t think the alumni giving story holds water.

Presumably we could look at how legacy admission rates compare between Whites and Asians that donate similar amounts of money to Harvard? If it's mostly about the money, then we would expect the gap to be small?

I just loved this part:

"It is incorrect to call it 'racism,'"

So, they don't want more than a certain amount of an ethnic group, act to limit that group, and it isn't racism. Sheesh!

The term 'racism' can only be applied to low-status people. The only fragments of higher education which are low-status are evangelical schools and schools run by commercial companies.

What do you mean it's incorrect to call it racism? Yes, it is racism. It is motivated by an ideology that rewards some at the expense of others in zero sum competitions solely on the basis of their race. This seems like a paradigmatic case of racism.

If you want to say it's "incorrect" to call it racism, I'd be curious what your take on it is. Why isn't it racism?

What is or isn't "racism" is arguably a political question. Which political authorities say or don't say a given behavior is racism and repeat that enough times, makes it so.

It's racist when someone else does it. It's totally fine when I do it, though.

What is or isn't "racism" is arguably a political question.

Zionism(which is racism) was racism until it wasn't(UN general assembly)

So, yeah political question.

Tyler: "It's not about race but about culture, for which ethnicity is merely a proxy. The whites believe that Asians are grinds and don't want to be surrounded by them in college. The whites are mistaken in this belief, but that's by the by; colleges are just catering to their preferences."

Tyrone: "It's OK to to discriminate along cultural lines. This goes for firms and customers. So what if race is a proxy for culture? That doesn't make it racism."

Actually maybe that's not Tyrone. I'm never sure. Cunningly opaque use of "repugnant" in the original post.

Grad Student, Tyler seems to take the position that test scores are the only factor that should go into the admission decision...not interviews, not non-academic achievements, and all the other items listed in Card's critique of the plaintiff's expert. When you consider other factors identified in Card's analysis and excluded in the initial plaintiff's expert report you get a different picture. By the way, what is your opinion of legacy admissions.

It's a sad, sick system that's driven by greed, instead of the desire to educate each person to the maximum degree they are capable of and desire.

Solution: Abolish Admissions. Let anyone take classes. If someone wants to enroll in a class in physics, math, or literature, why stop them? Currently, Harvard uses a night club like model, where the prestige of admission is driven by the number or percentage of people denied admission. Instead, build enough Harvard facilities nation wide to satiate demand for classes.

I actually agree. If Harvard was a private business they would have expanded to have universities in every major city by now.
It's sort of bizarre that high education is the one area of the economy where nobody ever expands and opens a new outlet. They just get more and more exclusive.

If you remember, we had the for-profit university scandals not too long ago. Those diploma mills ran exactly as you are saying, expanding everywhere while trying to make big bucks. Turns out they admit students who had no business being there, graduation rates plummeted, and the drop out students left with huge debts that taxpayer had to bail out. A complete disaster. See also the now defunct fraud called Trump University. I'm personally not against for-profit education but so far it hasn't been done right compared to more traditional universities.

Harvard is considered private, although it's heavily government funded. It's arguably "for-profit".

Regarding "students who had no business being there", anyone can sign up for high quality piano lessons, foreign language lessons, or athletic instruction. This really isn't a problem. Especially as long as there are willing buyers + sellers. Taxpayers shouldn't want to fund any of it.


What if your product isn't as good as everyone thinks? What if a lot of your marginal benefit to students is really mostly selection effects, networking, and signalling? You can't expand those.

Of course a lot of the value of prestigious education is selection/networking/signaling. That is obvious. However, even when considering those factors, the current model is not optimal, and an open admission model is more efficient.

Lectures from Caltech, MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley are all on Youtube for tuition-busting price of $0. Online education is a real thing and it works.

But Harvard already does this, it's called Harvard Extension School. Anyone can take classes and degree admissions are based solely on how well you do on your courses.

I think the risk to Harvard here is real. The vast majority of Americans aren't from the northeast, didn't attend Harvard (or any Ivy League school) and don't really aspire for their kids to go. But, they retain a not-very-deeply-informed admiration of Harvard as 'the best of the best'. They don't really know how the Ivy League admissions-office sausage factories work or the extent of legacy and donor admissions, or about all the cynical, frenetic high-school CV fluffing (they may not know what NGO stands for, let alone have considered founding one because it would look good to admissions committees).

Obviously, the risk to Harvard's reputation is worse if they lose, but I think it's significant even if they win merely because of the publicity -- the general public will learn all the sordid details of which most had been previously unaware.

Tyler’s post misses the point. By Harvard’s own admission Asians rate well on objevtivr academic measures and even more subjective measures such as essays and extra-curricular activities. They are dinged by Harvard because of their personalities, however they often don’t meet these applicants so they arrive at this conclusion via group stereotypes.

Also what isn’t mentioned is that blacks are over represented at Harvard despite being at the bottom of academic measures. It’s clear Harvard has a bias towards blacks which due to the zero-sum nature of elite admissions means other groups are discriminated against. Harvard should own up to its racial preference system in admissions and let the chips fall where they may. Who knows Kennedy may approve.

>I am pleased to report that none of this tomfoolery goes on at my home institution, which is highly and truly diverse.

Bull-fucking-shit. Every school discriminates severely against Asians. You know the 24% who got fucked out of going to Harvard? They got pushed towards Princeton, who also coudn't accommodate them. By the time you get down to GMU, there are thousands and thousands of Asians who should have gotten into better schools, and who are all more academically qualified than the other races they're 'competing' against for admission, because they had to get bumped down to let whites/blacks/hispanics have their 'fair shot'. Unless GMU is 100% Asian, they also discriminate.

Y'know, if this is true, then Asian scores and application rate should lead to lower enrollment rate over than would be expected from White scores and application rate.

Is there any evidence that this is the case?

If not, then at some level, Asians must be compensated for what is happening at elite colleges (where the Ivies are swerving a 50% from the 2%)...

It is incorrect to call it “racism,”

You are wrong. Racism is treating similar people differently because of their race. This is very definitely, and statistically provable, racism.

This is far more racist than opposing destruction of a long-dead historical figure who was both brave and a racist. Not wanted the statute destroyed is not racist, even tho the statue is of a racist.

Judging people based on their race, positively or negatively, is racism.

I'm really surprised and disappointed you are being intellectually dishonest about it.

I agree. I bet if you ask Asian students who applied and didn't get into Harvard and wonder if they're one of the 43-19=24% who should've gotten in on their academics, they might disagree that it's not racism. But, the experience of Asian Americans is one that often makes progressives uncomfortable. An economically and academically successful minority? That completely undermines the narrative! Let's pretend they don't exist or lump them in with whites, or say "it's incorrect to call it racism".

Are legacy admits a racist category given the prior distributions. Where is the merit in that.

NOT surprised unfortunately at the information here. Totally surprised that Tyler taught at UCI. I read that several times to make sure I understood it! Yes, there is a joke that UCI stands for "University of Chinese Immigrants" (made by students that couldn't get in?), but that doesn't stop everyone from applying does it? (Also there's a plaza just north of the 5-405 merge that has maybe the best concentration of Chinese food I've ever seen in the U.S., which seems like a benefit.)

By the 99 Ranch Market? I've had many good lunches there.

It is comical when you drive by UCI that everyone is Asian, but it works.

Here's a nice hike to burn off too much good food:

Those Asians in Irvine have made a huge sopping mess of the city ......... the safest city in America for the 10th year in a row!!

UCI's old reputation as the University of Civics and Integras dominated by rick rocket driving Asians is out of date.

UC Irvine has been making a huge push to boost its number of Mexican students.

If you think Asians are unfashionable, just wait and see what UCI's reputation is like in a generation.

I wonder if the data has been analyzed to see if Jewish applicants have been given favorable treatment over Asians. I imagine a significant percent of the admissions staff are Jewish it would not be outlandish of them, to slant admissions in their favor. Whites tend to be too guilty to do this. Power corrupts.

Oh my, the right-wing racists and the left-wing racists are organizing a competition in stupidity tonight.

Obviously the data has been analyzed, by Blum and his team, and shows beyond a reasonable a doubt that Jewish applicants are given a more favorable treatment in Harvard's admissions than Asians. This is because the Jewish applicants are considered by Harvard as white, and white applicants in general are given a more favorable treatment than Asian, the data shows. Since the data in question doesn't have Jewish as a category (and is anonymized), there is definitely no way it would give any more precise information on the question you ask, however you analyze it. If you have anything to say about that question, better than innuendos, please speak.

>It is incorrect to call it “racism,”

Well of course! It's being committed by a far-left institution. How could it possibly be racism?

Pathetic, Tyler. It's extremely blatant racism.

Would you rather have a small peen but a big brain like Asians or would you rather have a big peen but small brains like Blacks? I rather be White.

I'm a PhD student in econ, and in our fields, it's impossible not to notice how brain-dead, and unscholary our seminars are these days, dominated by droning asians who diligently keep their heads down and do the work but completely lack creativity, meaningful insight, curiosity, ability to make connections across disparate fields or phenomena, etc. You go to conferences, and their papers are so obviously data-mined, poorly expressed, thoughtless. I'm sorry, but it's just true--you can't not notice it. I'm surrounded by people who ground their through the matrix algebra for their econometrics problem sets, but when I ask them, "Why did you use that measure for that construct? Do you think it's a good proxy?" they just give me blank stares. The question has never occurred to them before, and they are scared to express their ideas in words.

I feel like people on this thread like to position themselves as against this discrimination, as a way to stick it to the libs, pointing out liberal hypocrisy. But if you spend your career on social-science academia, you will realize the very real, intolerable cost of being surrounded by these identical, diligent faces.

So you are saying they are too Straussian?

So, how long has your father been blogging under the handle 'Education Realist'?

Brian, Do you think, as an economist, you can make such generalizations of a class of people solely based on race?

Or, maybe you were the student in the room who looked around the room during the test and saw some Asian students and thought: there goes the curve? In other words, have your belief lowered your confidence in your own skills? The person who is prejudiced often harms themselves with their beliefs.

The problem is that you foolishly chose to major in a braindead social science (to be fair they are all bunk). If you chose a real major like math, engineering, or a hard science you'd see what real knowledge looks like. But then again those fields are filled with "thoughtless" Asians, so maybe higher learning is not for you.

I am not sure he would. I think that he might well see exactly the same thing.

The Social Sciences have been hit by the replication crisis. My prediction is as the Hard Sciences become more and more Asian, there will be more and more faking of data and other forms of mispractice.

You only have to look at Asian universities to see that. By and large they are an intellectual waste land. It is hard to break out of a culture of rote learning and regurgitation of widely acceptable platitudes.

Hard sciences have the benefit of being replicable which is something social science so far has not yet achieved. If bad actors attempt to defraud the scientific community, there's a quick and decisive way to find out if they are doing just that. On the other hand, economists and other social scientists can be wrong every day all day for the rest of their lives and continue on as if nothing happened with little to no consequences. Again, real knowledge vs. hand wavy just-so-stories.

Medicine is replicable but that has not stopped the problem hitting them too. However I do agree with you about the difference between the two. Generally speaking.

But bad science can and does exist. People can get away with very bad science for a long time. Global Warming is obvious nonsense but if that is too political, it predecessor Nuclear Winter was obviously fraud and yet Carl Sagan got away with it and people have supported it ever since. Richard Lewontin still gets away with denying that races exist.

So as the field becomes more Asian - some number of whom don't have a passion for their subject but have been bullied and guilt-tripped into Caltech by their parents - the sciences will become less original. The way to succeed in a subject you do not care about is to publish the same claims everyone else does. Fake your data if need be. Why would someone go looking for an error in what everyone else thinks is true?

Even Japanese universities are actually spectacularly bad.

"Even Japanese universities are actually spectacularly bad."

Compared to what? They have served Japan quite well and produced several Nobel Laureates in recent decades. Your evidence-free assertions are cringeworthy.

You can take my assertions as they are. They come with no special claim to knowledge.

Compared to what? They have provided a large supply of White collar workers, that is true. They have not provided blue haired, nose-ringed radicals roaming the campus with baseball bats. So that is a plus.

But when Japanese scholars win Nobel Prizes - and very often they share a prize with someone else which is not a good sign - they tend to do so for work done overseas, or at least started overseas. Some times they live all their career overseas. Very often they do their post-graduate work overseas. And oddly enough it is quite common in physics or chemistry that they win despite not being academics.

The claim is not that the Japanese are dumb. Just that Japanese universities to do cater to innovative thinking. As one of those Nobel Prize winners said:

In an interview to New Scientist magazine in 1985, Fukui had been highly critical on the practices adopted in Japanese universities and industries to foster science. He noted, "Japanese universities have a chair system that is a fixed hierarchy. This has its merits when trying to work as a laboratory on one theme. But if you want to do original work you must start young, and young people are limited by the chair system. Even if students cannot become assistant professors at an early age they should be encouraged to do original work."

The thought that young academics need to be encouraged to do original work and are being denied the chance tells you a lot about Japanese universities.

This may very well be true (I have no idea, and this is not what I see in math). This would not be an excuse for Harvard to use racial discrimination in its admission process. If you want to put originality of thought, questioning, etc., as a factor in your admission, test it. Do as many countries do, organize competitive exams on academic matters but with questions that go beyond the simple regurgitation of knowledge, and use them to select the best.

Another uncomfortable truth you can't not notice: Casual observation and quantitative factor analysis both indicate that the different dimensions of intelligence are closely related and highly correlated. Given that Asians score so exceptionally well on g, it seems unlikely to me that they are generally less capable of creativity and connection across disparate phenomena. I do not doubt that there may be *cultural* differences, with Asian-Asians and first-generation immigrants more inclined to risk aversion, conservatism in the claims and connections they make. But I very much doubt these are immutable characteristics. And indeed that comports with my casual observations that, frankly, second-generation Asians in the U.S. seem to outperform on virtually every dimension, creativity included. So perhaps the argument is just that we need to take more "diligent" and analytical Asians and better train them.

The real discrimination at elite universities is based on class. That’s why it’s much harder to get statistics from universities on the social rather than racial makeup of their student bodies. Affirmative action is cost-free for wealthy liberal elites: throw a few poor white kids under the bus to give yourself a good conscience, it’s not as if anyone who matters is injured.

As for Asians, like Jews before WWII they represent an actual threat, and must be excluded by hook or crook.

Makes one hope for a human characteristic Venn diagram that sorts for “diligent force fed grind without curiosity” instead of calling that Asian—plenty of what we call nerds or Silicon Valley startup kids fit the bill. I had close long relationships with Cal Tech kids, white, who showed no interest in anything outside their 60-hour weekly problem set, beer, online poker and ping pong. At Stanford the humanities are dying from lack of class registration while I saw and interviewed white blue eyed geeks whose only outlet was beer and online poker while chasing the next unicorn (and who sounded like Wired-bots in conversation). 50 years ago growing up in SoCal in a ghetto, the Asians were tough guys as well as sometimes smart; the Japanese girls were the heads-down grinds, their parents all having been interned. So it seems to me that this discussion really fairly can be about personality without calling it racism, instead admitting a bias that is nerdest. As for Harvard, it can only be a kettle of prejudices and bias-reflux because of its history, but I do remember the college tour w my part Asian kid and seeing an admission officer standing and staring at a 15’ Adirondack canoe handmade and shipped as part of a blueblood’s portfolio. Wonder if they returned it.

I'm not fully sold on the idea that one spending all their time studying is necessarily the way that they become a well-rounded citizen.

I'm not fully sold on the idea that one assuming a stereotype without evidence isn't thoughtless racism.

Harvard is in the Accella corridor paper belt business. It prizes power. There are diminishing returns to IQ beyond 2SD in the power game. Other traits a more useful to select for.

It’s also useful to have a few tokens of every group so you can maintain influence over that group. Blacks put Obama in the whitehouse because of his skin color.

Harvard will eventually admit more Asians as they can add more to their power base, but for now 20% is about all the high math IQ strivers they need.

Institutions that want to make nobel prize winners or google programmers take more Asians because that is what they are shooting for.

The issue is simply one of Harvard’s goals. Try run things, do we like how they run them. Should we care about their lust for power enough to let them operate that way.

I don’t know if excellerating the Asianification of the power elite would be good or bad for average joe American. However, the current Harvard elite sure doesn’t do much to make anyone besides themselves fight for them.

The economics faculty at your institution doesn’t look very diverse. One woman out of 29 if I’m reading this right. And a couple of minorities.

Based on the 2014 SAT data released by the College Board, at a 1400 cutoff for M+V, I estimate you would get something like
White 54%
Black <1%
Asian 38%
Latin 2.5%
Other 5%

Harvard's recent freshman class was 14.6% Black and 11.6% Latin. And Asians were 22.2%. Asians want to be up around 40%, roughly in line with their SAT scores. But if you're setting aside over 25% for low performing minorities, that would leave maybe 30% for Asians. Ramping up Asian enrollment would presumably come at the expense of Whites who are already under the 50% mark.

I'm not generally an SAT skeptic, but I am absolutely skeptical of the Asian dominance of the test. Their outperformance is entirely on the math section but note that despite their scores, we don't see them dominating elite mathematics or winning many Fields Medals. On the verbal section they are basically even with Whites and this is also the case on the LSAT. But they pass the California bar exam at lower rates than Whites. Asian genius = Overrated!

In 2014 all American (University) Fields medal recipient were Asians (Indian and Iranian). In 2010, there was a Vietnamese and in 2006 there was a Chinese. To get a US-born white Fields medal winner, you have to probably go back to 1998.

Lol, do you really think that constitutes "domination" of higher mathematics? I said they haven't won "many" Fields Medals. Your examples do not contradict my claims. Furthermore, elevated "Asian" IQ really only applies to Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans, not the entire continent. In desperation, you have absurdly resorted to the broadest possible definition of Asian. Iranians and Indians do not seem to have elevated mean IQ and are racially closer to Europeans than to Chinese.

Here is MIT's math faculty page. At a glance, I see five East Asians. They are better represented among the grad students, though. To me, this says they do well as undergrads and place well for grad school, but don't do so well when it comes to making novel, original contributions.

The list you provided group people by citizenship when I thought we are probably discussing ethnicity. The Asian-American performance is relatively recent, so I restricted my search to recent years (after 2000). The Asian performance is still miserable, I agree. But that doesn't matter in case you are considering statistics of Asians in the USA.

Do a google image search for Maryam Mirzkhani, the Iranian winner. She's Caucasian.

LoL, you'll get many Indian Caucasians also.

Keeping Asians out because they don't donate is not racist in the same way that waiters giving Blacks worse service because they don't tip is not racist.

Where is the evidence that Asians don't donate on a consistent basis?

Whole buildings are named after Asians at Harvard due to huge donations. They probably donate more as a percentage of their representation than any other group (as a percentage I note, not gross figures) given they have been deliberately kept low in admissions for decades.

It's racist to assume this without proof. Just as it's racist to assume Blacks don't tip without proof.

"Asian-American admissions don’t have the same donating track record as the white students traditionally cultivated by Harvard and other top universities. " This is quite simply an unsubstantiated lie.

It is incorrect to call it "racism". WHY?

If this was happening against Jews just because they were Jews would it still be incorrect to call it racism or anti-Semitism?

You're not a lawyer. Clearly. It happens to be illegal. To suggest it will continue anyway despite the law is like saying the South will still segregate anyway there's nothing you can do about it. Why have the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Protection Clause at all is my question.

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