Sunday, October 9, 2011

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IN ACTION

In 2006, Michigan passed an initiative called PROPOSAL 2, which banned the use of affirmative action in admissions for public universities in Michigan.

In early March, 2010, university administrators (including university deans and vice provosts) held an open panel discussion with the students, which was dubbed “The Rise and Fall of Affirmative Action.”   
Ted Spencer, associate vice provost and executive director of undergraduate admissions, told those at the event that Proposal 2 caused a lot of controversy because it led people to believe that when the University was using affirmative action in admissions decisions it was accepting unqualified students.
“One of the misconceptions of Proposal 2 was that we were admitting unqualified people,” he said. “That simply wasn’t true.”
Many minority students at the event agreed that after the passage of Proposal 2, they have felt like they have had to prove their academic potential to their peers and professors. [1]
I find this assertion TOTALLY UPSIDE DOWN!

Affirmative action IS AN INSULT TO MINORITIES! The government presumes that minorities CANNOT COMPETE ON A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD AND NEED ‘SPECIAL CONSIDERATION’ to be admitted to a college or university. Same applies to hiring – the government assumes everyone cannot compete equally and therefore some ‘groups’ need a leg up.

I would submit that AFTER passage of Proposal 2, any student – regardless of race, etc. – any student could look around and KNOW that every other student had been held to identical standards and the fact that they WERE ADMITTED meant that they DID NOT have to prove their academic potential to their peers and professors!  They earned their spot based upon merit.

What am I missing here?? ‘Affirmative Action’ is as much of a pejorative as calling someone a ___________ (insert filthy name of choice).

Fast-forward and consider the following findings by ‘The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education’ as specifically concerns the University of Michigan.
The statistics we have obtained concentrate on the nation's most selective universities. These institutions tend to be role models for the nation's 3,000 four-year colleges and universities. Racial policies of these top-tier universities are likely to shape the policies of other institutions of higher education. 
How the Rankings Were Constructed   (note: this study was for BLACK students only – no other minorities were included)  
Our evaluation system rates the nation's 26 highest academically ranked universities in 13 categories or factors of racial diversity. The 13 categories are: 
• Total black student enrollments (graduate and undergraduate).
• The five-year progress of the university in black student enrollments.
• The percentage of blacks in the most recent first-year class.
• The five-year progress in black enrollments in the first-year class.

See link [2] below for additional criteria for this study. The relevance of the study is that the University of Michigan RANKS IN THE TOP 25 universities in the nation WITHOUT USING AA as a criteria for admission.

Ooooooo... lookie here!
19.  University of Michigan (Average Score: 71.85): Despite litigation challenging its affirmative action admissions programs, the University of Michigan has been able to achieve and maintain a high level of black enrollments. It also ranks third among the highest-rated universities in terms of its percentage of overall black faculty. However, the university has a poor record in promoting its black faculty to tenured positions. Only 1.6 percent of the tenured faculty at the university are black and this level has dropped substantially over the past five years.   
But the main factor lowering the university's overall ranking is its extremely poor record in graduating black students. The black graduation rate at the University of Michigan is only 60 percent. This is 27 percentage points lower than the rate for white students. In addition, the black graduation rate has dropped five percentage points over the past seven years. [2]
[Editor’s note: I would challenge the terminology here of ‘the university's overall ranking is its extremely poor record in graduating black students’. The faculty teaches and the student LEARN. It is up to the STUDENT to meet the graduation requirements – not for the University to ‘graduate’ them, regardless of race!  I put that right up there with a student saying the teacher 'flunked him' on his test.  Pffftttttt...]

FYI - the top 26 leading universities, as scored by the JBHE are listed below.

1 – Duke University (NC)
2 – Emory University (GA)
3 – Princeton University (NJ)
4 – Washington University (MO)
5 – Vanderbilt University (TN)
6 – University of North Carolina
7 - Georgetown University (DC)
8 – Harvard University (MA)
9 – University of Virginia
10 – Brown University (RI)
11 – Columbia University (NT)
12 – Stanford University (CA)
13 – Yale University (CT)
14 – Rice University (TX)
15 – Cornell University (NY)
16 – MIT (MA)
17 – University of Pennsylvania
18 – Dartmouth College (NH)
19 – University of Michigan
20 – University of California Berkley
21 – Northwestern (IL)
22 – Notre Dame (IN)
23 – Carnegie Mellon University (PA)
24 - Johns Hopkins (MD)
25 – Cal Tech (CA)
26 – University of Chicago (IL)

The overall diversity score ranged from 90.36 (Duke) to 67.27 (U of Chicago). University of Michigan tied with UC Berkley at 71.85.

The top 7 schools in percentage of black students were:

1 – Emory 10.4%
2 – UNC-CH 9.7%
3 – Georgetown 9.2%
4 – UVA 8.8%
5 – University of Michigan 8.1%
6 – Johns Hopkins 7.6%
7 – Duke 7.5%

And finally, here’s an interesting quote from a Duke law student’s blog intimating that Duke does NOT use AA as a consideration for admission - not a surprise since it's a private university.  My premise is, black students at Duke have nothing to prove – they had the creds and they were admitted BECAUSE THEY WERE QUALIFIED and every other student there KNOWS IT!


[Posted in 2004]….Duke must use under-represented racial and ethnic minority identifications as a factor, and I would also add religion to this area. Some will argue that unqualified students are taking the places of more qualified applicants, yet, bottom line, the person who did not get in just could not cut it. Duke can and should be selective. We are unique, and that is the importance of being Duke. [3] [A liberal LAW student, no doubt.]


[1] http://www.michigandaily.com/content/u-administrators-discuss-impact-affirmative-action-ban

[2] http://www.jbhe.com/features/36_leading_universities.html

[3] http://dukechronicle.com/article/commentary-duke-should-use-affirmative-action

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