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Letter: Affirmative action in education fails majority

July 12, 2023 Articles, Letters
Letter to the FT (July 12, 2023) I was a bottom one-percenter, literally born on the streets of China to peasant parents, grew up in poverty in the west and arrested multiple times as a teenager -- I also attended Princeton University ("The moral bankruptcy of Ivy League America", Opinion, July 6). Although the US Supreme Court ruled to disallow race-based affirmative action, the history of similar policies -- notably proposition 209 in California, which banned race as a factor for college admissions -- and the present climate in higher education suggest that the Ivy League establishment will find other (non-race based) ways to continue to get their desired mix of students, in which Asians still end up being the biggest losers. Luce points to favouritism for white people due to that group receiving 65 per cent of athletic scholarships -- however, this number is roughly in line with their share of the overall US population. That this argument even surfaced shows the skewed view many have, perhaps in part because of the higher proportion of black people in major US sports. Nevertheless, Luce is on point that the affirmative action debate in its present form does nothing for the…

Short End of the Stick

October 8, 2014 Articles, Letters
Letter to the PAW in response to: Undergraduate Yield Up, Grad Yield Down Published on October 8, 2014 Students of Asian descent at Princeton (and elsewhere in the United States) seem to get the short end of the stick on campus, as highlighted by two articles in the June 4 issue. With respect to the racial composition of the school (“Undergraduate Yield Up, Grad Yield Down”), Asians are touted by school administrators as “minorities” in order to add to the diversity count of the class. Yet it is also well known that administrators place a higher bar for Asian students in admission to college, where they have to outperform not only their minority peers on entrance examinations (by large margins) but also whites (as highlighted by the research of sociology professor Thomas Espenshade *72) to have the same chance of admission. And on campus, even though the single largest racial minority group is Asians, discussions about race, discrimination, stereotypes, etc. never seem to include them (“Student Dispatch: Encounters With Racism, Captured on a Whiteboard”); yet there are many negative prejudices that the group has to deal with. Too bad the whiteboard campaign did not include an Asian student holding a sign proclaiming:…

Admissions policies unfair to Asians

November 29, 2004 Articles, Princeton writings
Fifteen percent of Princeton undergraduates are Asian-Americans (among domestic students).  Compared with peer institutions, this is actually a low figure.  At Yale and Harvard, Asians make up 17 and 19 percent of the population, respectively.  Although these are high numbers, enrollment would actually increase if not for current legislation. What would happen to the number of Asians at elite schools if admissions were truly race-blind?  In the California school system, race is prohibited by law from being a factor in college admissions (although statistics still point to bias against Asians).  A simple back-of-the-envelope calculation based on the increased enrolment of Asian-Americans in California schools after they passed proposition 209, SAT scores and historical extrapolation based on quota-like discrimination against Jews pre-WWII, shows that if not for race-based preferences, Asians would account for about 30 percent of the population at schools like Harvard and Princeton.  This would certainly change the landscape of higher learning. Should schools like Princeton support programs like affirmative action?  First, let me critique affirmative action.  It should not be cloaked as a tool to overcome historical discrimination or slavery.  For one, this implies that Asians do not face discrimination or past prejudices (e.g., the Chinese Exclusion Act…




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