The Affirmative Aftermath: Schools Now Insist that Race had a Major Impact in Admissions

There is an interesting debate unfolding around the country in the aftermath of the Supreme Court barring the use of race in college admissions. For decades, colleges and universities have sought to downplay the weight given to race in court while insisting that it was one of a number of factors used in maintaining diversity. Now, however, schools are insisting that, without considering race, minority admissions will plummet.

During the Supreme Court oral arguments over affirmative action, Harvard’s counsel Seth Waxman struggled with an argument that race consideration was needed to maintain current admissions for minorities. Yet, he also maintained that it was not a major factor and that the consideration of race with regard to Asian students produced only a “slight disparity” and “had no effect with respect to outcomes.”

It was no easy argument. As in past cases, the Court was assured that it was just one of a number of “tips” that was not substantial in the decisions. Yet, after the Court barred the use of race criteria, schools are now arguing that it will make a massive difference and substantially reduce minority admissions.

Since the 1970s, the Supreme Court has ruled that race could not be a determinative or major factor in admissions. In Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, the Court ruled against affirmative action. In his plurality decision, then-Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr. stopped short of barring the use of race in admissions entirely. Instead, he cited Harvard University’s admissions policy as an example of how race can be one of a number of diversity elements.

In the 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, the Court upheld Michigan’s use of race but then-Justice Sandra Day O’Connor cautioned that the court “expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.” That was 20 years ago.

Since that time, universities have insisted that they only use race as one of many factors and that it does not carry the determinative weight rejected in Bakke. For decades, universities and colleges maintained this difficult line of downplaying the importance of race in admissions.

However, even the limited use of racial classifications continued to divide the Court for decades. In 2017, Chief Justice John Roberts declared: “The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.”

In his decision last week, Roberts noted that minority students could still raise their own individual struggle with racial discrimination in essays, but that schools cannot employ threshold classifications to give an advantage or disadvantage because of race.

Many of us support efforts to maintain diverse classes and see the value of such diversity in the education process. I have found economic diversity to be one of the most important elements to my classes. Students who come from lower income families often have a sharply different view on many of the issues that we discuss in our classes.

Yet, it is the frank discussion of the racial criteria that is so interesting in the aftermath of the decision. Many now insist that racial criteria was determinative in a large number of applications. The latest was State University of New York (SUNY) system Chancellor John B. King, Jr. who gave a strikingly conflicted account on NPR that was not challenged in the interview.

On Friday’s broadcast of NPR’s “Morning Edition,” King stated that an admissions process based only on individual merit would result in “fewer black and Latino students on campuses.” Yet, at the same time, he insisted that use of individual merit alone would not impact white or Asian students.

He told host Steve Inskeep:

“Yeah. Again, I think they’re misrepresenting how the admissions process works. There are policies at Harvard, for example, where students are admitted because they are legacies, because they’re one of multiple generations in their family to go to Harvard. There are students who are admitted because they’re a tuba player. There are students who are admitted because they’re great lacrosse players. And so, there [are] a range of factors as universities try to build a diverse class.”

King then emphasized “by removing the tool of race-conscious admissions, the evidence is it results in fewer black and Latino students on campuses.”

Of course, a minority student who plays the tuba can still get that “tip” with other indications of individual merit separate from racial classifications. Minority students clearly have similar “tips” based on individual merit from achievements in tuba to tennis to trigonometry. If the factor was given no more weight than a tuba talent, one would think that the drop in admissions would not be as severe given a myriad of other qualifications or tips in applications.

Soon after the decision, California Gov. Gavin Newsom objected to the ruling in saying that admitting students solely based on their individual merits, without considering race, would result in a massive drop in minority admissions.

Likewise, over at The Nation, Elie Mystal insisted that, without factoring in race, minority admissions always drop: “In California, which ended its affirmative action policies over 25 years ago, the studies show that, without affirmative action, Black enrollment plummets, Latino enrollment plummets.” He insisted that this was a victory for “mediocre white people.”

[Mystal later attacked Justice Thomas on MSNBC, describing Thomas as a “mutilated version of a black justice” who just did whatever his wife, who is white, tells him to do. Rather than accept that Thomas holds opposing constitutional views, Mystal insisted “he doesn’t want to see anything that Ms. Ginni tells him he shouldn’t be able to see.”]

The difference between the arguments and the aftermath of the affirmative action decision is striking. What was presented as a relative modest “tip” based on race to the Court is now being presented as a huge factor in admissions. If left to individual merit, advocates and administrators now insist that that minority admissions will sharply decline and white/Asian admissions will rise.

Nevertheless, King insists that such determinative use of race had no negative impact on white or Asian students while insisting that the number of admissions for white or Asian students will increase substantially when only individual merit is accessed.

That was all to explain why people just do not understand “how the admissions process works.”

256 thoughts on “The Affirmative Aftermath: Schools Now Insist that Race had a Major Impact in Admissions”

  1. schools are insisting that, without considering race, minority admissions will plummet. TRANSLATION : For whatever reason Blacks in general are unfit to meet the same basic admission standards that whites and Asians have. OR perhaps colleges should spend more time recruiting the Lebron James of the world and look for the Ben Carson’s.

  2. “In California, which ended its affirmative action policies over 25 years ago, the studies show that, without affirmative action, Black enrollment plummets, Latino enrollment plummets.” He insisted that this was a victory for “mediocre white people.”
    So he is saying that without AA stupid and lazy blacks and latinos can’t get ahead ???

  3. There’s a tried and true solution to this. If minority students hope to gain admission, they can work harder and earn it.

    1. Better yet, barred from even tracking or soliciting info about it. There is only one race – the human race.

      1. All men are created equal then follows the time to earn one’s position in the rank and file order of our society. Privilege is EARNED, it is not determined by race; Intellectual ability, wealth, self discipline and desire to be. Those all determine where you go, some may make it easier, however some are the truly determining factor of the individual. You can’t make a successful scholar out of a drugged dolt anymore than you can make a woman out of a man. You can’t claim to fight racism by practicing racism.

  4. In the last 25 years I’ve had 3 interactions with the courts, none of them self-inflicted. Each time I’m handed a green piece of paper asking me to choose my race. Anytime that I’ve interacted with the government through paperwork, I’m asked to declare my race. The schools from kindergarten up require parents to declare race. Then in the early two thousands when I as the father would fill out paperwork such as point of contact in case of emergency, I became known as the non-birthing parent.

    1. Our current homosexual government thinks that a Church is a corporation. It thinks marriage is two queers shacking up and it can’t even define what a woman is. This government is run by the devil himself.

    2. I think it is another attempt by those controlling our government from behind the scenes to start a civil war. First they bribe and threaten the court to kill babies, liberate women, remove Bible reading and prayer from school, force minority hiring and so on until they have ruined a generation of people, turning them into homosexuals and feminists. Then they go back and start reversing all those decisions all at once in order to turn the younger generation against the elders who still knew the ways of sanity and decency from yesteryear. It appears that their plan is working to some degree.

  5. In Bakke the UC lawyers insisted that full-race quotas were necessary to achieve “diversity”. The UC took the “plus factor” loophole and rammed it right back into full-race quotas. By the 90s a white couple went to see Ward Connerly about theri straight-A son denied admission to med school–a carbon copy of Bakke. The result was Prop 209, a state proposition that should have been unnecessary anyway as it stipulated “equal treatment” that I thought was supposed to be the law if the first place?

    Mystal is either uninformed or a lying demagogue. NOBODY was denied their education, maybe they did not get their first choice of campus. Probably as blessing as the most competitive sites are not the best places for students who needed a “plus factor” in their admissions. Today one UC site is a semi-official Hispanic site (UC Merced in the San Joaquin valley) and NO UC site has a white majority. (Cal Poly San Luis the last one and all the politicians are in a frenzy to destroy it).

    None of these leftist blowhards will go anywhere near the REAL “root cause”: It’s not racism, it’s the unbelievably idiotic mismanagement of the K-12 systems all under one-party rule in the metro regions. And when you think it can’t get any worse than this…Bill Gates to the rescue with $1 Billion to “reform” math education with his “equity math” program. Go look it up it says things like making students show their work on a test is racist! It’s the Coup de Grace and will cement the “underrepresented minorities” (URMs in the Newspeak) into their role as a permanent underclass to be used for whatever purposes the psychotic neo-Marxists have in mind for them. Feed, breed, and vote Democrat?

  6. So you go to one of these institutions of special stupidity and graduate with an LGBTQ degree in homosexuality and witchcraft with $100,000 plus debt to go on the end of your LGBTQ degree. And then you start life with this debt hanging over your head, no one to finance it, and a whole bunch of employers who say,” don’t call us; we’ll call you.” That’s because all you know how to do is identify and report discrimination while cross dressing and upholding political correctness.

  7. It sounds like the pro-affirmative action crowd simply think that blacks and browns can’t hack it on merit. Ladies & gentlemen, this is called the soft bigotry of low expectations.

  8. Kidnaped Christian Children used and abused as sex slaves to be escourts to sell sex and drugs and use all of thier own children to be slaves to drug dealers and sex traffickers of Mormon Law enforcement of County Sheriff’s and protected to do so with support from us Marshalls NSA FBI all Mormon employees who support kidnaping of Christian children mostly of up to age 6. And as little as infants just born. President Biden and his Catholic Church does the same for Biden while he also kisses Mitt Romney for sexual escourts and baby tapers such as Epstien where in Hollywood everything is for sale and is legal just like how Biden lives in the Whitehouse of shame and is against all Christians of this a world. All my children from 1974 until this 4th of July 2023 Randall born 4 Jul 1974 Rian 2 April 1976 Emberee 01 18 1976 Kathleen 17 April 1981 Danielle 3 Dec 1987 all kidnaped and raped sodomized tortured and Ashley 02 08 2001 and sister Mariah kidnaped as twins twice by Mormons both convicted of kidnap attemted rape by Mormons just like every brother and sister times 27 children and 300 non related children by my High Priest Mormon Dad who was also a Pentecostal and Holy Roller preacher owning two Churches in Albuqurke New Mexico who raped women, had electric shock treatments in Atascadero State Hospital for the Criminally insane, however since he was protected by both Mormons Catholics and Pentecostals and Holy Rollers from any prosecutions he victimized children under 6 by welfare mothers getting 50 bucks to allow John Gordon Wilson to take a boy or girl to see a Disney movie and returned never to be the same and mothers and welfare dads would be too afraid that if they told the law what happened my Dad told them that they would lose all of thier children if they did. 71 years of sexually perverted Mormons is why I run from State to State to stay out of Mormon or Catholic hands who are always looking for more victims such as little babies and toddlers.

  9. It should be disqualifying for an applicant to inform Harvard that he has a relative who graduated from the university. Over the years, a lot of non-legacy applicants with sky-high SAT/ACT scores have not been admitted into Harvard. Furthermore, the number of legacy applicants with mediocre SAT/ACT scores have been admitted into Harvard is not zero.

  10. According to the Harvard Crimson legacy-students had an average SAT of 2296. Non-legacy students had an average SAT of 2237. If you factor in race, Indians at 2316 had the highest SAT followed by East Asians at 2304. No other ethnic group had a higher SAT average than legacy students.

    The myth of legacy students is not the reality. They are, almost uniformly, the very bright, very hardworking children and grandchildren of very smart people.

    1. There are a lot more very bright, very hardworking students in America than there are students at Harvard.

      For decades or longer, however, Harvard has favored the very bright, very hardworking offspring of Harvard graduates over the very bright, very hardworking offspring of non-Harvard graduates.

      Color-blind, legacy-blind, wealth-blind, athletic-ability blind, powerful-and-influential blind admissions should replace the mess Harvard calls its admissions process.

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