Originally Posted by Piobaire
Not a snarky question and mainly to Eric (as he mentioned this): how do you define and/or measure "strong potential for success?" I think this is important as drop out rates among certain demographics are atrocious, so if AA is tailored for under prepared minority people with a strong potential for success, I would submit that metric/set or metrics is/are either not well defined, not well assessed and measured, or both. I would also submit AA programs would probably meet with greater societal acceptance, i.e. by more than liberal academics and the populations (allegedly) benefiting from the programs. If there's one thing Western culture likes it is success. I think demonstrating high levels of success in this social engineering (and I'm not using that term in a pejorative sense as I think the concept is neutral) would bring it greater acceptance by demonstrating actual worth.
Two thoughts. First, I think one obvious goal is for students to graduate--maybe not with the highest GPAs during the first years, but hopefully with a record of improvement. How to identify this kind of potential? Honestly, this is where I have to say I don't know what goes on at my own admissions office. I do know that at a small institution like mine, the admissions office can scrutinize personal essays and conduct interviews in addition to looking at the numbers. Would it be bullshit to call this as much an art as a science? I hope not. Things are certainly much different at huge institutions like U-T, which have to rely a lot more on quantitative aspects of applications.
If you think Western culture obsesses over success....
Originally Posted by Ataturk
I got into this thread because of the OP's assertion that the girl wasn't discriminated against when she obviously was. The argument to the contrary is really facile and dishonest. Colleges can't use explicit racial quotas anymore, so they design elaborate systems like the one in Texas to favor minorities indirectly -- systems that have been carefully calculated to operate as de facto quotas. Indirectness doesn't make these admissions policies nondiscriminatory.
As to legacy admissions, private schools can do whatever they want in my mind--and that includes affirmative action. I don't think either are a good idea, but they're private schools and they can be as arbitrary as they want if the taxpayers aren't paying for it. And personally I don't think colleges should even have athletic programs, but they're a hundred times more entrenched than affirmative action. You've got to pick your battles.
I know you're thoroughly convinced by your own arguments, but there's a lot more room for disagreement than your rhetoric of "these are the facts" would suggest. As far as I can tell, you never did respond to key aspects of the story originally linked:
In the hundreds of pages of legal filings, Fisher's lawyers spend almost no time arguing that Fisher would have gotten into the university but for her race.
It's true that the university, for whatever reason, offered provisional admission to some students with lower test scores and grades than Fisher. Five of those students were black or Latino. Forty-two were white. Neither Fisher nor Blum mentioned those 42 applicants in interviews. Nor did they acknowledge the 168 black and Latino students with grades as good as or better than Fisher's who were also denied entry into the university that year.
Instead, you argued that the policy of admitting the 10 percent of each graduating class was a racially motivated policy (and you did this with a "c'mon, we all know this is true" appeal). I think this is actually the trickiest point of contention. What if this policy were described as what it really is at face value: a state university's attempt to promote some sort of equality among public high schools against the obvious fact of glaring disparities among neighborhoods and school districts. This is not to deny that these disparities fall largely (although obviously not completely) along racial lines. But I do think there's a distinction between seeing the problem of disparity as a racial one and seeing the attempt to do something about it by rewarding all high schools as a racially motivated policy.
You just assumed the latter and then moved forward with your argument (which, by the way, included citing a bunch of stats, then hastily pointing out that the stats were for the wrong year, but hey, whatever). Obviously, the article in question doesn't question the 10 percent policy but compares Abigail Fisher to the other candidates who didn't make it in that way.
At least we agree with legacy admissions and athletic programs. But I've never see a huge fuss about the former policy (which I'd love to see abolished) or the latter (which will never be abolished since the population as a whole seems to love loves sports a lot more than it loves education).