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February 15, 2003

More diversity in science

Off the wires:


Race-conscious university admissions policies are needed to increase diversity in science and engineering professions, Stanford University officials said Friday. Stanford said it will join the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in supporting the University of Michigan's affirmative action policy in a closely watched court battle.

A legal brief the universities plan to file Tuesday will ``add a slightly different voice and argument'' to the debate, Stanford general counsel Debra Zumwalt said Friday. Many briefs have focused on how diversity benefits the humanities and education overall, but few have discussed the scientific benefits, she said.

The brief is also signed by DuPont, IBM, the National Academy of Science, the National Academy of Engineering and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering. MIT will file the brief to the U.S. Supreme Court.


I notice that Cal Tech is not on the list. I'm so disgusted that I'm not going to even comment-enough people fail math & science that discrimination isn't the biggest problem-rather than recruit more people, they should figure out a better didactic methodology for the people that major in the sciences without outreach & prompting....

From "B," one of MIT's token whites (though last I heard he had some bamboo-jungle fever):

Razib - didn't have link, but the MIT press release, actually a quite interesting read, is
here....

In the above press release, Chuck Vest, our fearless leader, makes the following statements...

Vest said he hoped the brief would “help persuade the Justices of the Supreme Court that for the good of America, our colleges and universities must retain the freedom to consider race as one of many factors when admitting students.”

And I thought the ability to discrminate on the basis of race was one of the few "freedom" our public insititution explicitly did not have. But maybe I'm one of those scientists who can't
read so good :)

And I am sure Vest's comments on diversity at MIT, and we do have a lot, will suprise GNXP readers...

“But that is just the point. It is not a miracle. It is not a natural occurrence. It is the result of determined, conscientious effort, over more than three decades, often against seemingly insurmountable odds. It is the result of institutional leadership and occasional courage. It is a result of the determination of innumerable families and communities. The goal was as simple as it was profound: to give every young person the opportunity to succeed.

And hopefully it still is the goal. I also feel bad for all the people who have not attended law school, grad school, or a prestigious undergraduate school, and thus have not had the opportunity to succeed, hence by assumption have not succeeded, and hence are faliures. QED

MIT is actually very diverse place, the best
snippet I could find stated:

In 2002–2003, MIT students come from al 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories. The Institute's international student population comprises 344 undergraduates (8 percent) and 2,283 graduate students (37 percent) from 108 foreign countries.

AND FYI, if you do the math, MIT is about 25% foreign, ~30% asian (~12/18 - foreign,native) but of course the foreign asians don't count as minorities...

Posted by razib at 05:08 PM




my best friend is a PHD in physics from MIT. now he interviews people for admissions. last year i tried to tell him MIT treated people different depending on their race. he swore they did not.

this does not look good for his side of the story!

Posted by: jody at February 15, 2003 07:56 PM


As a Caltech alum I'm pleased they have stayed out of this. Caltech's entering freshman class is only 260 people, so unlike larger schools like MIT and Stanford they can't squander places on people who are not qualified, regardless of their race or anything else. How can "race-conscious admissions policies" be considered anything but racist?

It is also notable that the grade inflation infecting The Ivies has not hit Caltech; a B is still good and an A is still rare.

Posted by: ole at February 15, 2003 08:41 PM


i had a physics professor who was a grad student @ Caltech, he joked that the curves were like this:

a small spike for A's (mostly undergraduates), a larger hump for B's (mostly graduate students) and the largest humps for C's (mostly undergraduates).

Posted by: razib at February 16, 2003 01:42 AM


Cal Tech is still one of the few universities that actually considers use of standardized tests for admissions to be legitimate.

And, if diversity were such a good idea, how does one explain away the fact that monoracial countries such as Iceland, Taiwan, and Japan are all First World, yet Guatemala, which is about 90% Mayan, is not?

Posted by: Roger Chaillet at February 16, 2003 09:06 AM


Razib - didn't have link, but the MIT press release, actually a quite interesting read, is
here

Posted by: -b at February 16, 2003 09:16 AM


In the above press release, Chuck Vest, our fearless leader, makes the following statements...

Vest said he hoped the brief would “help persuade the Justices of the Supreme Court that for the good of America, our colleges and universities must retain the freedom to consider race as one of many factors when admitting students.”

And I thought the ability to discrminate on the basis of race was one of the few "freedom" our public insititution explicitly did not have. But maybe I'm one of those scientists who can't
read so good :)

And I am sure Vest's comments on diversity at MIT, and we do have a lot, will suprise GNXP readers...

“But that is just the point. It is not a miracle. It is not a natural occurrence. It is the result of determined, conscientious effort, over more than three decades, often against seemingly insurmountable odds. It is the result of institutional leadership and occasional courage. It is a result of the determination of innumerable families and communities. The goal was as simple as it was profound: to give every young person the opportunity to succeed.

And hopefully it still is the goal. I also feel bad for all the people who have not attended law school, grad school, or a prestigious undergraduate school, and thus have not had the opportunity to succeed, hence by assumption have not succeeded, and hence are faliures. QED

MIT is actually very diverse place, the best
snippet I could find stated:

In 2002–2003, MIT students come from al 50 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories. The Institute's international student population comprises 344 undergraduates (8 percent) and 2,283 graduate students (37 percent) from 108 foreign countries.

AND FYI, if you do the math, MIT is about 25%
foreign, ~30% asian (~12/18 - foreign,native)
but of course the foreign asians don;t count as minorities...

Posted by: -b at February 16, 2003 10:10 AM