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[NR] What Ivy League affirmative action really looks like from the inside

May 20, 2015

 

A view of Uris Library and the John McGraw clock tower from Cornell University's Libe Slope. (Courtesy of Matt Hintsa via Flickr/Creative Commons)

A view of Uris Library and the John McGraw clock tower from Cornell University’s Libe Slope. (Courtesy of Matt Hintsa via Flickr/Creative Commons)

[NATIONAL REVIEW]

 

Asian Americans have finally had enough. They’re tired of working harder, achieving more academically, then having that held against them as they try to fulfill their educational dreams in our nation’s most elite universities. To gain entry into top private schools such as Harvard or the best public schools such as the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, no one has to do better than Americans of Chinese or Japanese or Korean descent. To make room for black, Latino, and — yes — white students, deserving Asian Americans are pushed aside. And they’re tired of it.

So last week a coalition of more than 60 Asian-American groups filed complaints with the Department of Justice and Department of Education, alleging systematic racial discrimination in college admissions. They’re right, of course. Colleges do systematically disadvantage Asian students, and the problem is worse than they imagine. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

Years ago, before I became a full-time constitutional lawyer, I taught at Cornell Law School — an Ivy League school and one of the top law schools in the country. My second year on the faculty, I served on the admissions committee, and I saw firsthand how not just race but ideology distorts the admissions process. Ivy League admissions are one part meritocracy — the students are quite bright — and one part ideological engineering. And if Americans broadly understood how the process works, support for affirmative action would diminish even further.

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