The U.S. Department of Education is widening an investigation into whether Princeton University is discriminating against Asian applicants by artificially capping the number of students of Asian background it admits each year. The investigation was sparked by a 2006 lawsuit filed by Jian Li, a Chinese immigrant who grew up in Livingston, NJ, who was rejected for admission into Princeton’s class of 2010 although he had perfect SAT scores, was in the top 1 percent of his high school class, and had significant extracurricular activities. The DOE is examining Princeton’s admissions data for the class of 2010 to determine whether Asians have been discriminated against. The University denies any discrimination, stating that 14% of its freshman class last year was Asian.
Mr. Li, who was also rejected at Harvard, Stanford, MIT and U. Penn, told the Yale Daily News that his case is based on a study of admissions processes published by three Princeton researchers in 2004, “which found that while elite universities gave African-American applicants an advantage equivalent to 230 extra SAT points and Hispanic applicants 185 points while making admissions decisions, the schools placed Asian-Americans at a disadvantage equal to a loss of 50 SAT points.” This phenomenon has been labeled “disaffirmative action.” The researchers concluded that if colleges stopped using affirmative action quotas in admitting students, Asian students would fill nearly four out of every five places that are currently taken by black or Hispanic students.
The jury is still out on whether affirmative action policies in our colleges and universities are having a desirable effect. Are quotas an effective tool in ending racism, or are they just another form of racism? I guess it depends on who you speak to, a fact which speaks volumes.