Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cornell Editorial on Affirmative Action   posted by TangoMan @ 9/23/2007 01:12:00 AM

Tim Krueger writing in the Cornell Daily Sun focuses on the higher admissions hurdles that Asian applicants to Cornell face and advocates that something be done about this injustice. By his back of the envelope calculations:

In the interest of space I'll put the calculations on The Sun website instead of here. The figure I arrive at suggests that Cornell would have around 258 more domestic Asian/Pacific Islander undergrads in the absence of racial considerations in our admissions process.

He began his editorial with some promise by making note of the distorting effect of racial preferences, but he just couldn't commit to the consequences of a merit system and falls back on tinkering with racial gerrymandering but unlike most of the advocates of Affirmative Action, with their stale, run of the mill, pronouncements, Mr. Krueger offers us a grand vision:

Noting that Cornell is a truly global institution, can the geographic limits of its responsibility to educate defensibly be established within the U.S.? I would argue not. And if Cornell has a global responsibility, any affirmative action policy rooted in this second "instrumental" argument would be expected to aim for a student body that's a microcosm of global, not simply U.S., demographics.

Seeing as a) Asian Americans have indeed been subject to extreme experiences, even within the past century (deportation, concentration camps, reproductive manipulation, ghettoization), and b) even aggregating the domestic and international Asian populations at Cornell only gives us less than half of 42 percent - the percentage of the world projected to be Asian by 2011 - I find it hard to justify Cornell's policies towards prospective Asian students.

So let's cut to the chase, what does he propose be done about the plight of Asians not being admitted on merit? Implement a merit-based admissions system? Nope:

Does this mean Cornell should end racial considerations in admissions? Of course not - the rest of Berkeley's demographic story boasts a black population of only 3.8 percent. . . . . Either of the above constructions of affirmative action justifies its application towards blacks, Latinos and Native Americans. The loosening of admissions standards for Asians should instead come at the expense of white applicants. This would strengthen the academic caliber of our student body while furthering our commitment to diversity; the combination should not be taken lightly.

I eagerly await news of Mr. Krueger's withdrawal from Cornell in order to make room for the meritorious Asian or the Diversity-embodying Black, Hispanic or Native American. Come on Mr. Krueger, do your part.