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More thoughts on diversity

October 9, 2013 Articles, Letters
Letter to the Princeton Alumni Weekly (October 9, 2013 edition) In response to: Seek only the best, brightest Why are Asian-Americans always singled out in the conversation about over-representation in higher education compared with their national number (e.g. letters in the July 10 issue)? Jewish Americans form an even smaller percentage of the U.S. population (about 2 percent) and have just as large numbers in elite schools in the country, where they number roughly 25 percent at leading schools, and about 13 percent at Princeton. If former President Tilghman and those who support her ideas are so committed to the notion of bringing about skin-deep diversity, would they advocate that Jewish Americans form just 2 percent of the student body at Princeton? That idea is a non-starter, as it should be. As letter-writer Russ Nieli asserts, the only principle that should matter is talent, and we should do away with notions of skin-deep diversity when it comes to assembling the student and faculty body of Princeton. Kai L. Chan *08 Dubai, United Arab Emirates October 9, 2013 PAW letters section

Talent comes from many economic backgrounds

February 2, 2005 Articles, Princeton writings
If you are reading this article, you likely belong to the richest quartile of the country.  According to an April 2004 New York Times article, three quarters of Harvard's class of '03 came from the top quartile of the income distribution; only 6.8 percent came from the bottom.  The figures for Princeton are similar.  If Princeton is truly interested in being "in the nation's service," then not only is it failing its mandate, but it is also exacerbating inequalities.  For higher education to be a means of social mobility, the playing field must be made more level for the less affluent. Let's face it:  Princeton is a bastion of privilege.  The problem faced by elite institutions, then, is how to attract and admit qualified students from more diverse economic backgrounds. Growing up, I belonged to the bottom quartile.  Aside from the disadvantages of poverty, my parents also played no role in my schooling, and my teenage years were spent in and out of the courts.  I graduated from high school at the age of 20, after dropping out once and being expelled twice. My acceptance into Trinity College (University of Toronto) came as a surprise in spite of my eventual…




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