Diversity in higher education is a complex process. While many anti-affirmative action proponents immediately point to the low test scores of blacks and Hispanics when applying to college and universities, few actually look at the communities (and process) as a whole. Gaining entry into a college is more than just test scores. While high achievements are warranted, its not the only measuring stick when accepting students. Regardless, some students, specifically Asian and white Americans who believe they are negatively affected by this, are looking for a sense of fairness.
In 2015, a complaint was “brought by a coalition of 64 Asian-American groups that allege” Harvard University “uses racial quotas to admit students and discriminates against Asian-Americans”. The current Trump administration is now reviewing this complaint for validity purposes. In taking a birds eye view of the situation, I decided to see if there is any merit. In 2016, 2,037 students were admitted to Harvard University, while in 2017 that number rose to 2,056.
In 2016, a record (at the time) “14 percent of the admitted students [were] African-American, and 22.1 percent [were] Asian-American, also a record. Latinos [were] 12.7 percent…..Native Americans [were] 2.2 percent and Native Hawaiians [were] 0.4 percent.” In 2017, another record was achieved with “Women constitut[ing] 49.2 percent of newly admitted students. Asian-American students make up 22.2 percent, African-Americans 14.6 percent, Latinos 11.6 percent, Native Americans 1.9 percent, and Native Hawaiians 0.5 percent. First-generation students constitute 15.1 percent of those admitted.”
In an interesting development, when taking a look at the numbers while some may view it as high, the truth of the matter are two points.
- The only American ethnicity that is over represented are Asian Americans (based on population breakdown) and
- The minority accepted student population dropped from 51.4% in 2016 to 50.8%, meaning the only ethnicity with a significant gain were white Americans.
According to Christopher Eisgruber, president of Princeton University “the last decade has seen a significant increase in the number of Asian-American students on campus, while growth among other minorities has been “more modest.” In 2017, Blacks and Latinos account for 26% of students accepted while Asians account for 22%.
This brings me to my last point which is, resume breakdown. If I receive 100 qualified applicants to my college and I am looking to represent multiple viewpoints to ensure an optimal learning environment, if 80 applicants look exactly the same, I am going to hold the other 20 in higher regard. And I think that’s where we are. For those saying blacks and Latinos aren’t qualified to get into these schools, that’s not true. Harvard has requirements to receive entry, and if a student meets those requirements they should have the opportunity to be accepted regardless if they’re at the top or the bottom.
I understand the frustration of some, particularly Asian Americans of decisions by colleges to over look high performing students. But the fact is, colleges are looking to accept and support people from various areas to find the Barack Obama, a high school student who graduated with between a 2.0 to 3.3 but had the potential to be the first black President of the United States.