Is Harvard Racist?


Harvard University’s admissions policy is proof that one can remember negative history, write about it in great and vivid detail, and still be doomed to repeat it. In the name of “affirmative action” and “diversity,” Harvard is doing to Asian-American applicants exactly what it once did to Jewish applicants: discriminate. Lee Cheng explains.
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Can you imagine, in this day and age, an educational institution discriminating against a racial minority? Can you imagine what the outcry would be?

“You mean, you’re preventing these qualified students from attending your college because of the color of their skin?!”

Well, you don’t have to imagine it. It’s happening. And at arguably the most prestigious college in America—my alma mater, Harvard.

The ethnic minority isn’t blacks or Jews, as it was in years past. The target this time is Asian Americans.

And it’s just as wrong.

After millions of dollars in legal fees, millions of records examined, and hundreds of hours of depositions and testimony, Harvard’s once purposely opaque admissions policies have been laid bare. It’s not a pretty picture.

Here’s what we now know:

Harvard Admissions rates student applicants in three main ways: 1) Academic performance; 2) Extra-curricular achievements; 3) “Personal qualities.” That’s fine, as far as it goes, if the criteria were applied fairly. But they’re not.

Asian American applicants consistently score higher in the first two criteria—academics and extra-curricular activities, which can be objectively assessed—than white students, Latinos and African Americans.

So how does Harvard justify its Asian American quota? With the help of category three—“personal qualities,” which include vague and largely subjective factors like “likability,” “maturity,” “integrity,” and “effervescence.”

According to Harvard’s own internal reports, Asian American applicants are routinely and systematically marked much lower on this personality scale by Harvard admissions officers who almost never meet or interview applicants. But here’s the kicker: the personality ratings given to Asian students by admissions officers are vastly different than the personality ratings Harvard gets from its own alumni interviewers, who actually meet the applicants in person. Alumni interviewers score Asian applicants as high as whites.

In other words, Harvard artificially and fraudulently downgrades Asians on “personality” to get the results it wants. And what Harvard wants is to suppress the number of Asian Americans admitted.

Based on the data that Harvard was forced to turn over, economist Peter Arcidiacono of Duke University concluded that with the same application profile in terms of test scores, extracurricular activities and personality factors, an Asian American male applicant would only have a 25% chance of admission—versus 32% if white, 77% if Hispanic, and 95% if black.

What’s the real-life result of all this?

In 2013, Asian Americans made up 19% of the incoming freshmen class. According to Harvard’s own Office of Institutional Research, if the personality factors had not been rigged, that percentage would have been 43%.

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