Patterico's Pontifications

4/7/2008

The University of Texas and Race-Based Admissions

Filed under: Constitutional Law — DRJ @ 8:28 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Few universities have been involved in more litigation regarding race-based admissions than the University of Texas, especially after Monday.

The first notable case was in the 1950 Sweatt v Painter case in which the NAACP and Herman Marion Sweatt, an African-American, went to the U.S. Supreme Court to compel UT’s Law School and other graduate programs to integrate.

Subsequently, in the Hopwood case, UT unsuccessfully appealed a Fifth Circuit ruling “that any consideration of race, even as one factor among many, is unconstitutional. As a result of the court’s ruling, all affirmative action programs involving race and ethnicity in admission ended at public universities in Texas in June 1996.” Texas adopted the top-10% law soon thereafter.

After the 2002 Supreme Court decision in Grutter v Bollinger and Gratz v Bollinger, UT altered its admissions policies to consider race and ethnicity as factors in discretionary (non-top-10%) admissions. This year, 81% of admissions at UT-Austin were made pursuant to the top-10% law and the remaining 19% were discretionary admissions in which race and ethnicity were factors.

Monday, a lawsuit was filed in federal court that challenges UT-Austin’s race-based admissions policies:

“A group that fights racial preferences in schools filed a federal lawsuit Monday against the University of Texas at Austin, claiming its undergraduate admissions policies violate the Constitution and federal law.

The lawsuit was filed by the Washington, D.C.-based Project on Fair Representation. The plaintiff, Abigail Fisher, is from Richmond, a Houston suburb. She is a white student who finished in the top 12 percent of her high school class but was rejected for admission to UT-Austin.”

Here are links to the press release from the Project on Fair Representation and to the Complaint.

The lawsuit claims that UT-Austin has not complied with the U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Grutter and Gratz:

“The lawsuit contends that UT has run afoul of a 2003 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving the University of Michigan that said race and ethnicity could be considered under certain circumstances. Fisher’s suit argues that affirmative action is allowed only after race-neutral approaches are found inadequate.

Patti Ohlendorf, UT’s vice president for legal affairs, said the school’s admissions policies comply with Supreme Court precedent and applicable laws.”

UT-Austin President Bill Powers supports discretionary admissions to increase minority numbers and has criticized the top-10% law because it limits discretionary admissions and, in his view, penalizes well-rounded and minority students. He advocates a cap on top-10% admissions at UT-Austin at 50% so that there will be more discretionary admissions to build “a diverse and well-rounded student body.”

College admissions is a contentious issue in Texas for many reasons but I think one reason is rising college tuition costs. State colleges like UT-Austin provide a good education at less cost than private schools, and the competition has intensified as costs increase.

Whatever the outcome, plaintiff will likely have completed college and perhaps even graduate school before this case is decided.

— DRJ

54 Responses to “The University of Texas and Race-Based Admissions”

  1. i distrust the term “well-rounded” and the people who use it.

    assistant devil's advocate (b45960)

  2. See, when I hear “admitted due to affirmative action”, what I really hear is “Not as smart as the other kids”.

    The three professions I do NOT want to end up with “barely made on looser standards” is pilot, Doctor, and lawyer. If the only way to make sure I don’t end up with someone that didn’t do as well as everyone else is to get a white doctor, and a white lawyer, than so be it.

    Thank you Affimative Action. You’ve succeeded in making sure I only hire white, if only to avoid the people you let slip in under the cutoff…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  3. I would add to Scott’s list: architects and engineers.

    Vermont Neighbor (e7ed47)

  4. ahhhhhhh good point…

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  5. Vermont, what on earth is the harm in a stupid Architect? Anything they build that is at all risky would have to be fixed by an engineer (and yeah, you always want a smart engineer).

    Jokes aside, this is for undergrad… not law, not medicine (UT Austin doesn’t even have a medicine program, and their law school is quite good even with its race policies).

    The thing people don’t get is how small the affirmative action effect is. It affects whites very little, while increasing minority admits by a large percentage (if there are only 1% blacks, you can increase it 100% while only cutting 4 white students, which I guess is about right for UT Law).

    UT’s current top ten percent rule is a great idea, though the schools are gaming the system and we need more accountability.

    With bar exams, medical exams, pilot’s licenses, I don’t understand the idea that your black lawyer is unqualified (and seriously, you should never judge your lawyer based on his grades unless you have no choice… maybe in other professions, but not in law). If anything, we could triple the number of lawyers and doctors, and only don’t because their associations don’t want to lose their high salary potential.

    And I’m afraid the fact is that if you are black, your test scores probably don’t reflect how smart you are. I know how bullshit that argument sounds, but I’ve found it’s actually true. The very best law student in my section is black, and had mediocre performance on standardized exams. I don’t know why this is, but it’s a well documented phenomena. If you’re black and you get a graduate degree in america, you’ve worked your ass off an beaten the odds (same applies to poor whites… who also get an admissions boost). that’s dedication you can’t replace with high test scores.

    I guess the real fact is that the absence of affirmative action, which I guess many see as strictly going by numbers instead of a holistic approach, is not really any more fair, and not really a better exercise of equal protection under the law.

    Why not just look at everything you can, and see if the student is such a person that will overcome, fight hard, has goals, will be ethical, and is smart. That’s pretty much what UT is doing right now (if you are applying to UT, my best advice is to tell a story about how there was something you wanted that was difficult to achieve, but you somehow achieved it… and this is straight from the admissions dean’s mouth).

    Fact is, I only know three black people at UT Law out of hundreds. The three “least” white candidates that lost their slot here are probably going to survive.

    That’s not to say I’m thrilled with affirmative action: there are some seriously disturbing problems with black bar passage and the possibility that affirmative action is actually reducing the number of black lawyers… though I think this is a function of money more than anything.

    Jem (4cdfb7)

  6. if there are only 1% blacks, you can increase it 100% while only cutting 4 white students

    And those 4 students just got screwed because they’re the wrong color.

    I guess the real fact is that the absence of affirmative action, which I guess many see as strictly going by numbers instead of a holistic approach, is not really any more fair, and not really a better exercise of equal protection under the law.

    Huh? The only possible fair method is to create a set of criteria that apply the same to everyone, any benefit to one student that another doesn’t get is by definition unfair.

    Women now earn 57% of bachelors degrees and 59% of masters degrees, and yet still get preferential consideration in admissions and scholarships. And some of these crazy bastards want to apply Title IX to try and force gender parity in the hard sciences.

    It’s freaking lunacy.

    Taltos (4dc0e8)

  7. As long as an individual’s scholastic achievement measures up, that’s ideal for incentives. Don’t let anyone climb the ladder with inferior stats. That’s where certain mandatory admission rules become dangerous. Sorry to say, it may be what separates libs from cons.

    IIR, girls have a math and numbers aptitude over boys up until 3rd grade when it reverses.

    Vermont Neighbor (e7ed47)

  8. Taltos, I think you just don’t understand what I’m saying.

    I’m saying there are no accurate statistics to measure the aptitude of applicants fairly. For whatever reason, science is indicating that blacks are smarter than their GPA and tests indicate. And anecdotal, this reflects my experience.

    Thus, I think the absence of “affirmative action,” if that’s what you would call a holistic approach to admissions, is certainly no less fair than strict stat analysis.

    Furthermore, do you realize that there would probably be zero blacks at UT without affirmative action? And far fewer hispanics, etc. Not that I think a person is defined by their race, but let’s be real here: there is something very crucial about this school that is utterly lost if it is all white. Without that important component of many cultures and backgrounds, everyone’s education is badly damaged.

    So I say look holistically at all the applicants, and pick a good class. A lot of kids from different states, different backgrounds, some who had nothing, some who had a lot, and yeah, some minorities need to be admitted.

    To pretend that you can really put everyone on an objectively equal playing field is just silly, and absolutely NOT what the constitution demands.

    There is this idea that the white students that would be admitted, but for affirmative action, had some kind of right to be admitted. That’s untrue. It’s the State’s right, a right to as good a school as it can get, with diversity, opportunity for social mobility, etc etc, that is most important.

    There are plenty of law schools (too many). This isn’t really true of med schools, but I think it’s true of Universities in general. It’s not as though whites are harmed at all by affirmative action. They are the greatest beneficiaries of it, because for many of them, this is how they are exposed to the best the black community has to offer.

    In exchange, the black admit has to pay the greatest price for affirmative action by paying tuition for a degree into a field he is less likely to succeed in (for law, blacks are dramatically less likely to pass the bar and practice law). White’s get all that cultural information they need to practice law in front of diverse people, get a job at a great law firm (that would never hire from an all white school), etc.

    I think the affirmative action debate is not well understood by either side. One side thinks it’s some kind of reparation, and the other thinks it’s a 14th Amd. EPC violation.

    For the record, I’m a white male Republican. A veteran, one of those who approved of the job Bush is doing, and someone who used to get extremely mad at the idea of affirmative action… where we’re back to judging on the color of skin. I’ve since learned this isn’t the reality of AA.

    Jem (4cdfb7)

  9. The thing people don’t get is how small the affirmative action effect is. It affects whites very little, while increasing minority admits by a large percentage (if there are only 1% blacks, you can increase it 100% while only cutting 4 white students, which I guess is about right for UT Law).

    Translation: three highly qualified Asians and one highly qualified white guy (all four of whom would have almost certainly passed the bar on the first try) get screwed, but that’s a small price to pay for two marginally qualified blacks and two marginally qualified Hispanics (three of whom will probably pass the bar eventually) can get a law degree from a more prestigious institution than their credentials warrant.

    There is this idea that the white students that would be admitted, but for affirmative action, had some kind of right to be admitted. That’s untrue.

    It’s also a strawman, since the argument here is over a right (or, in your view, a lack thereof) to a fair process rather than to a particular outcome.

    It’s the State’s right, a right to as good a school as it can get, with diversity, opportunity for social mobility, etc etc, that is most important.

    I agree that the state has a right to get as good a school as it can get, but the notion that that is what it is doing by reverse discriminating doesn’t pass the laugh test. The institutions in question didn’t even advance that argument themselves until one of worst judges in history blessed the theory in Bakke, after which they all immediately fell into line and said “yeah, helping out the institution itself is what we were doing all along. That’s the ticket.” Sorry, not buying it.

    I do agree with you that affirmative action is probably constitutional, but not for any of the reasons you advance. I think it’s a horrendous idea, which many states have rightly prohibited in their own constitutions, and which the federal government would do well to outlaw in its own. I just don’t think it’s the kind of discrimination the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment had in mind.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  10. ‘See, when I hear “admitted due to affirmative action”, what I really hear is “Not as smart as the other kids”.’

    Ever been in a class with the football team?

    stef (8bb588)

  11. I thought you dated the football team, stef.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  12. In her majority opinion in Grutter, Justice O’Connor — who always sought compromise, even when it meant compromising the plain words of the Constitution — wrote that it was obvious that the remedies allowed in Grutter could not persist for an unlimited period, and suggested that such racial preferences ought to cease in twenty-five years. Even if you accept the starange logic that what is constitutional today will be unconstitutional at a specified point in the future, even though no actual change in the Constitution can be foreseen, Grutter was decided in 2003, which means that five of Mrs O’Connor’s twenty-five years have already elapsed.

    So, what happens in 2028 if, shockingly enough, we still aren’t seeing equal outcomes from equal opportunity?

    Dana (3e4784)

  13. Ever been in a class with the football team?

    Yes.

    Oh, wait… Were you trying to refute my point?

    Scott Jacobs (fa5e57)

  14. The only way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race. Hopwood was right.

    Beldar (c7d2f9)

  15. Dana:

    So, what happens in 2028 if, shockingly enough, we still aren’t seeing equal outcomes from equal opportunity?

    Dunno, and I’ll bet O’Connor doesn’t, either. That’s probably why she picked a date that far into the future, to guarantee that she herself won’t be around by then, and it will be someone else’s problem to solve rather than hers.

    Beldar:

    The only way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race. Hopwood was right.

    I agree that as a matter of substantive policy, the best way for the state to end invidious discrimination by race is to end all discrimination by race. It doesn’t follow, however, that this is the only way that this can be accomplished, nor does the Constitution generally require states to use the “best” way – the latter being a question best left to the (overtly) political branches. Hopwood was indeed a good political result, but jurisprudentially speaking, it’s only as good as the notion that the Fourteenth Amendment applies to invidious and non-invidious alike.

    That said, as long as our courts persist in the fiction that even “good” discrimination should be subject to strict scrutiny, Hopwood was indeed the correct result.

    Xrlq (b71926)

  16. The 10 percent rule is patently unfair, as well, because it penalizes students who attend high-performing schools.

    This is the underlying issue in this lawsuit. The plaintiff finished in the top 12 percent of her graduating class, but she attends one of the best schools in the area. Surely her academic credentials are better than someone finishing in the top 10 percent at a low-performing school (of which there are many in Texas).

    And it’s not always about funding, either. My daughter transferred from one suburban high school to another in the same district, five miles apart, in mid-year.

    The difference in academic expectations at the two schools was dramatic.

    In fact, the teachers at her previous school warned her that she would have a great deal of “catching up” to do since classes at her new school were much further ahead.

    poolside (270977)

  17. Stef, didn’t date the football team…wrong sex…

    However, a 33 on the ACT, a 1540 on the SAT, and the starting QB are all the same in my case…

    In my senior class in our public high school, all boys, 545 strong, in a school of 2300, 9 of the top 13 graduates were football players, all starters…

    And, three of them were black….a much higher percentage than the number of blacks in the school…

    Oh, and just so you know…Kinesiology, the “PE” degree, is also the basic pre-Med degree for most universities….qualitative and quantative anatomy, biology, psychology, chemistry, mechanical and anatomical kinesiology, and many of the other classes…are the same for “PE” majors…add to those Educational classes, EdPsych, nutrition, and you get a very well rounded degree…

    Has nothing to do with football ability, either…

    reff (bff229)

  18. Oh, and stef, just so you know…

    ALL NCAA/NAIA football players, on all levels, must have at least a 19 on the ACT, and pass the 14 core courses in high school with a 2.0 average.

    Less than half of the high school graduates in AMERICA meet those requirements…

    So, the football team is above average….

    Next point….

    reff (bff229)

  19. “Oh, wait… Were you trying to refute my point?”

    refute? I think that strengthens it. Considerations outside academic merit — race, hardship, athletic or musical ability, what school your parents went to, how much they donate, how much you can afford, all will lead to “Not as smart as the other kids”

    “Even if you accept the starange logic that what is constitutional today will be unconstitutional at a specified point in the future, even though no actual change in the Constitution can be foreseen, Grutter was decided in 2003, which means that five of Mrs O’Connor’s twenty-five years have already elapsed.”

    I read that part of the opinion as saying that it is constitutional to do something given certain conditions, but those conditions might change. Makes sense to me. Its constitutional to engage in warrantless searches under an exigent circumstance, but at another time, that condition might not exist.

    stef (688568)

  20. “Stef, didn’t date the football team…wrong sex…”

    What’s the matter with you?

    “Less than half of the high school graduates in AMERICA meet those requirements…

    So, the football team is above average….”

    Above the median. Average we need more data.

    stef (48e229)

  21. Bottom line? When you give preferencial consideration to someone of one race because of their race, you discriminated against those of another race. Texas A & M doesn’t follow UT’s race based policies, yet their minority enrollment continues to increase and they use the 10% rule.

    Why is a student’s race even a consideration? If it is illegal to ask a person’s race, age and religious affiliation on a job application, should the same rules not apply when a student is applying for admission to a state school?

    Why is seeking a law/medical degree any different that trying to gain admission to say, a firefighter academy? Yet, in order to fill racial quotas mandated by the federal government, fire departments like Denver, Austin, now have a different entrance test for blacks than it does for whites or even Hispanics. Test scores, required for admission to those academies, and test scores for completion of those acadamies, have been lowered in order to comply with federal mandates. If your house is on fire, do you want the firefighter who was the best for the job or do you want a firefighter who got the job due to the color of his skin?

    One question also has to be asked; if the standards for admission to an education major have been lowered to increase the number of minority students, and those students go on to teach in basically minority schools (both elementary and secondary) how does that benefits students? This could be applied to any profession.

    Why should tests be lowered to accomodate minority students to fill quotas? Is this not discrimination against other students? Why are Asians and American Indians not considered minorities when it comes to admission to both universities and fire/police academies? Are they not truely minorities? Or are we to assume that those two groups all attended quality school systems?

    retire05 (4dd253)

  22. What’s the matter with you?

    Good cat and mouse move.

    Vermont Neighbor (e7ed47)

  23. He should have added NTTAWWT I guess.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  24. Reff:

    ALL NCAA/NAIA football players, on all levels, must have at least a 19 on the ACT, and pass the 14 core courses in high school with a 2.0 average.

    Less than half of the high school graduates in AMERICA meet those requirements…

    So, the football team is above average.

    Gotta love that football player logic. Please tell me you weren’t the QB.

    Stef:

    Above the median. Average we need more data.

    The word “average” is often used to refer to the median as well as mean, but that’s neither here nor there. Both you and your rhymesake appear to have overlooked the bigger issue, which is that the relevant average, be it a median or a mean, would require a lot more data about the particular school in question. Comparing the median (or mean) academic qualifications among newly admitted athletes at a particular college against the median (or mean) academic credentials of all graduating high school students in the whole friggin’ country is an absolutely moronic comparison, unless you are talking about a college so desperate for students that they will admit anyone with a high school diploma. Even then, the averages are unlikely to sync up, as the worst-performing high school students are the least likely to go to college even if given the opportunity to do so.

    Jeff (b71926)

  25. I reject the concept that “compelling” national interests overide and legitimize unconstitutional policy and law. I defy anyone to defend affirmative action on a constitutional basis.

    Amused Observer (f33b9d)

  26. There are two kinds of affirmative action. One, where you lower the standards for students on the basis of race, ethnicity or sex. Another, where you hunt down excellent students on the basis of race, ethnicity or sex and offer them incentives to come to your school, such as scholarships and tuition waivers. Even sports cars. As somebody implied before, the second is done with athletes all the time. It is a legitimate “value judgment” even for a public school.

    nk (6b7d4f)

  27. BTW: I would not have been admitted to any college with a 10% rule based on high school GPA. I would have been admitted to any college with a 3% rule based on standardized testing. I was admitted to every law school I applied to and chose the one which best suited the life I wanted to live at the time. The fact is that students, mostly, are more bright and more talented than admissions committees and admissions rules are only as good as the people who make them.

    nk (6b7d4f)

  28. This is the underlying issue in this lawsuit. The plaintiff finished in the top 12 percent of her graduating class, but she attends one of the best schools in the area. Surely her academic credentials are better than someone finishing in the top 10 percent at a low-performing school (of which there are many in Texas).

    So? Is there a constitutional commandment that students be admitted in order of academic credentials?

    Andrew J. Lazarus (7d46f9)

  29. I foresee a whole new theme for Austin’s perpetually outraged progressive community (i.e. 95% of the population) to latch onto and find room for yet another bumper sticker. something like “Save Diversity at UT” or some nonsense like that.

    Jack Klompus (cf3660)

  30. …because it limits discretionary admissions and, in his view, penalizes well-rounded and minority students.

    It also penalizes well-rounded Caucasian and Asian students. So what? The school has a right, and an obligation, to not discriminate based on race; a school otherwise can choose students however it wishes.

    Patricia (aaa977)

  31. This is an interesting situation because it manifests as an affirmative action question, but I don’t think that’s what is really driving the lawsuit.

    From the plaintiff’s perspective, the problem is the top-10% rule that lets any student who graduates from the top 10% of a Texas high school class be admitted to a Texas public college. The top-10% law applies equally whether students graduated from poor schools, wealthy schools, big city schools, or rural schools. I think that’s what public funding should do.

    However, historically UT-Austin has been a very popular choice for students from Houston who were educated in good high schools and graduated in the top 1/4 of their class. Students like this plaintiff. Such students have a good argument they are better-prepared than a top-10% graduate from a Valley, inner city, or West Texas high school but the Texas Legislature decided that geographic diversity is an important goal in state-funded higher education. I agree.

    So students like this plaintiff feel dispossessed from something their parents took for granted – a ticket to attend UT-Austin after high school – and middle class parents who have sacrificed to live in good neighborhoods and to send their kids to good schools feel they are being punished for making those sacrifices. I understand how they feel, too.

    I think the UT-Austin administration has exacerbated middle class unhappiness by using the top-10% law as a scapegoat for minority admissions. I think it’s true that, if UT-Austin had more discretion over admissions, it would find a way to increase the number of minority students in attendance. But that doesn’t mean those minority students would be well-prepared to succeed at UT-Austin.

    What isn’t being said is that, since the top-10% law took effect in 1996, minority admissions at UT-Austin are increasing. For instance, African-American admissions increased (PDF link, p. 26) from 2% to 6% among top-10% students and from 3% to 7% among non-top-10% admissions. Minority admissions are also up at other Texas public colleges. It appears students may be self-selecting where they fit based on things like convenience, cost, and academic preparation. I think it’s parochial to complain that their choices are wrong.

    Nevertheless, let’s assume that more minorities should be attending UT-Austin than are now. UT-Austin has the highest SAT/ACT averages of Texas public colleges and it has not been a common destination for minorities in prior generations, so there is no tradition pushing minorities to attend. I don’t think it’s surprising it has taken 10+ years for minority admissions to increase at UT-Austin and I expect these increases will continue. However, since the best predictors of college success are high school performance and SAT, I hope future increases come from non-discretionary top-10% admissions.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  32. Time to abolish AFERMATIVE ACTION and tell JESSIE JACKASSON to GO TAKE A HIKE

    krazy kagu (3067be)

  33. Well, I hope she wins the case. Thats really not fair for her or any other student who has the same situation. I mean, I don’t know her really that well, but Im pretty sure she knows what she is doing. I’m not really planning on going to UT or anything, but its good to care for those who want to and are in the same situation as she is.

    To those who say she should’ve been in sports…Yeah right….like sports would get me into a unviersity I wanted when I got in my senior year…I think orchestra teaches better goals than sports. orchestra forced me to have good practice habits if I wanted to be good.

    brooke (df4f39)

  34. Jeff, don’t understand your question. But, as I read what I wrote, I get your point. I should have said that MORE than half the graduates don’t meet those requirements….thanks for pointing that out for me….

    Yes, I was the QB….threw a few INT’s in my time too….

    A state title, another pair as a coach, along with a few other successes make up for my faults, I hope….

    My point is that all high school football players who want to play in college must meet those requirements. Those requirements are higher than more than half of the high school graduates in America today. So, when stef wondered about being in class with football players, my counter is to point out to her that those same football players she doesn’t want to be in class with are required to have higher requirements than more than half of the high school graduates.

    Stef…what’s wrong with me? Nothing, since I am a male, and don’t date other men…

    You might find football players more stimulating that what you are currently with….

    reff (59b2ad)

  35. Andrew, no there is no constitutional commandment that says what you ask…

    There is an Constitutional requirement that discrimination on the basis of race is not allowed…but, activist judges have ignored that simple statement, haven’t they???

    reff (59b2ad)

  36. “Stef…what’s wrong with me? Nothing, since I am a male, and don’t date other men…”

    You’re doing wonders for my understanding of “average” though.

    stef (c089c0)

  37. Reff, you missed my point. Forget “average” as mean vs. median; that’s a minor detail. The major issue is that you treated the “average” high school grad as though he/she were the equivalent of the “average” incoming college student. The two are not the same, nor even close. While it may be true that the average high school grad has academic credentials even worse than the ones you touted, no one with credentials that poor has any business going to college, and as luck would have it, most of them don’t. Once you limit the analysis to college students, a high school GPA of 2.0 and 19 on the ACT (or ~910 on the SAT) is not “average,” it’s bottom of the barrel.

    Xrlq (eaa3a6)

  38. Xrlq…it may be the bottom of the barrel on college admissions, but, it is above the average for high school graduates….

    That was my point…stef wants everyone to think that football players must be “dumb,” which is her inference….

    I’ll argue the opposite on the college level….that they may be lower on the entrance level is debatable, and I’ll argue that many are not at the “bottom” but, they are smarter than most high school grads…

    Stef, as for your understanting of “average”…

    You don’t have one…you’re not smart enough to figure that out for your self…and we’ve been trying to help you here, and on other strings, but…

    Can’t make chicken salad out of chicken shit….

    reff (59b2ad)

  39. So what if they are smarter than most high school grads? I’m sure they’re smarter than most high school dropouts, too, and will further stipulate that they are waaaaaaaayyyyy smarter than the mentally retarded. So what? In the context of a college class, the only relevant comparison is college athlete to college non-athlete. Any other comparison is worthless at best, or misleading at worst.

    Xrlq (eaa3a6)

  40. “That was my point…stef wants everyone to think that football players must be “dumb,” which is her inference….”

    No. Just you. I want people to know that there are many ways that non-academic criteria are used for college admissions. And people weren’t concerned with inadequately trained college grads until the blacks started getting a piece of the action.

    “Stef, as for your understanting of “average”…”

    It involves knowing the differences between the mean and median; it involves some guesses as to where gratuitous sexism, homophobia and general internet-tough-guy-ism lie on that spectrum; and genuine surprise that a self-described ex football player so fits what I thought was a warped stereotype.

    stef (4daa88)

  41. Stef, Reff’s confusion notwithstanding, it’s pretty lame to equate football scholarships with reverse discrimination. For one thing, as a matter of policy it is one thing for an academic institution to bend its rules to favor some less qualified academics who have excelled in other areas in which the institution also has an interest, particularly something as lucrative as college sports, and quite another to dole out such privileges to those who have done (and will do) nothing to earn them. For another, as a matter of law the federal constitution doesn’t require us to be fair to athletes vs. non-athletes, while it does have something to say about fairness by race.

    Xrlq (eaa3a6)

  42. stef #40:

    And people weren’t concerned with inadequately trained college grads until the blacks started getting a piece of the action.

    That is an incredibly ugly statement. Prove it.

    In addition, I think XRLQ is right about the equal protection arguments. You seem to care about Constitutional issues, stef, so I hope you will recognize the validity of his argument.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  43. Frankly, I’m concerned about student athletes and admissions standards, but not as Stef wants to imply because of racism, but because I think that colleges are exploiting them with the illusion that they are getting an education.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  44. “Stef, Reff’s confusion notwithstanding, it’s pretty lame to equate football scholarships with reverse discrimination. ”

    I’m not talking about scholarships.

    I do think the equal protection arguments are strong — at least where state schools are concerned. I’m not addressing the constitutional argument. I’m addressing what I think is the faux concern with inadequate academics. Affirmative action and athletic admissions have been found to academically outperform legacy admissions, for instance. But I don’t hear so much about the unqualified daughter of an alum engineer.

    Lastly, I think a state school has a broad mission to educate its state. Maybe even provide it with football greatness. I don’t think the former necessarily means always taking the academically more qualified candidates. I can see how the 10% rule can be a way for a school to fulfill its mission to educate the state.

    stef (8a983a)

  45. stef #44,

    I agree re: the 10% rule. I also think legacy admissions are becoming a thing of the past at both state and private colleges unless the alumni relative(s) have donated millions. In those cases, the legacy admission is probably worth it from a cost-benefit standpoint.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  46. Stef, please tell me in my posts where I showed any sexism, homophobia, or “tough-guy ism”…

    I’ll be interested in your response…it will reflect YOUR projections of me, not my actual statement…

    As for “non-academic” criteria…no football player gets into college on scholarship based upon “non-academic” criteria, since they have to meet specific academic requirements BEFORE they can be given the scholarship. Yes, they have athletic ability, but, they have to meet specific academic requirements first.

    Xrlq….the comparison to college student/college athlete…

    Athletes graduate at a slightly higher rate than the total college students…

    Last NCAA numbers….62% for athletes, 57% for total college freshmen enrolled…

    Oh, and…average, the result of division of the total stat by the number of participants…for example, 62% versus 57%…or, the average ACT score for college bound football players versus the average for high school graduates…such as a 21.7 to a 18.6…

    Median the exact middle number in a statistical analysis, such as the middle number for high school graduate ACT scores, 16.9, as opposed to college bound football players, at 20.4…

    Mean, a relationship to the average, such as when the college bound football player’s ACT score is above the mean for same relative score for the high school graduate; related to average….

    And, for your last point to stef, about colleges letting in “less qualified” academics…the NCAA’s agreements with their member schools establishes that the 19 ACT score and the (NOW) 2.5 in the core courses (4 maths, 4 english, 3 social studies, 2 foreign languages, 3 sciences) is designed to make some assurances that the athlete is reasonably prepared for college. It is the major complaint of some that it is racially motivated to keep blacks out, and, has actually been raised in the last 5 years….so, yes, I’ll argue any point that even remotely implies that any athlete, including football players, are the “dumb” ones in college….

    reff (bff229)

  47. “Mean, a relationship to the average, such as when the college bound football player’s ACT score is above the mean for same relative score for the high school graduate; related to average….”

    Great stuff.

    stef (8bb588)

  48. I knew you could not possibly have a legit response to my post…thanks for playing…

    reff (bff229)

  49. Oh, and, just so you know…I paid my way through college, instead of taking the scholarship, so that another, much more needy person could have the scholarship….and, my family is not even remotely close to wealthy….

    reff (bff229)

  50. I do think the equal protection arguments are strong — at least where state schools are concerned. I’m not addressing the constitutional argument. I’m addressing what I think is the faux concern with inadequate academics.

    It’s not a faux concern, much as affirmative action apologists may wish it to be so.

    Affirmative action and athletic admissions have been found to academically outperform legacy admissions, for instance. But I don’t hear so much about the unqualified daughter of an alum engineer.

    That’s because the alum engineer donated enough to make it worth the institution’s while. It may not be a good policy, but it has nothing to do with the racial spoils system you advocate. One bad policy does not justify, much less necessitate, another.

    Xrlq (eaa3a6)

  51. “It’s not a faux concern, much as affirmative action apologists may wish it to be so.”

    Thats why when other non-academic factors get brought up, they’re defended.

    “That’s because the alum engineer donated enough to make it worth the institution’s while. ”

    I was not familiar with the fact that legacy preferences depended on donations, nor that it depended on it being ‘worthwhile’ for the donations. I have heard that some places introduced them to exclude academically qualified Jews. I doubt it still serves that specific purpose, but like any other non-academic criteria, it probably does lead to excluding the academically more qualified.

    “It may not be a good policy, but it has nothing to do with the racial spoils system you advocate”

    You consistently impute policies to me. Things would be much simpler if you didn’t.

    stef (0a2529)

  52. The problem with the ten percent rule and race-based discretionary admissions is significantly understated here. For example, Private schools do not qualify for the ten percent rule. Furthermore, in the remaining 19%, UT likes to admit out-of-state students for reasons of diversity and because they pay much higher out-of-state tuition. Thus, if you’re a white top scholar at an elite and highly-competitive Texas private school, you have a very slim chance of getting in under current rules.

    My son fit this (unfortunate) category and despite being ranked #2 in his class of an elite private school and having SAT scores way, way higher than normal for UT, he was denied admission. Thankfully, UT was not his first choice and he was admitted to the school that was, the University of Notre Dame, which has academic requirements and a freshman profile that frankly dwarf those of UT.

    While my son was ultminately unaffected by the irrationality of UT admissions policies, I feel for the thousands of kids that are.

    Tom B (743c1c)

  53. Tom B.,

    The point is what is best for state-supported higher education overall and the Legislature has voted to primarily support geographic diversity, i.e., to maximize attendance from as many high schools throughout the state as possible.

    Rather than complain about the top-10%, it would make just as much sense (or more) for you to urge the Legislature to recognize the top-10% of private/voucher/charter schools or to complain that UT’s discretionary admissions favor minority and out-of-state students more than in-state students from non-ranking schools.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  54. 81+% of students are currently admitted via a single criteria, and even that one is not taken in context with the quality of the school. If this is wrong and counterproductive, as I believe, expanding its coverage to private schools also is not a solution regardless of whether it makes it a bit less unfair.

    If UT wishes to meximize its quality and positive impact on Texas, it needs to attact the highest-caliber students and then retain them. The ten-percent policy, among others, is inconsistent with this goal.

    If you really want to ensure geographical diversity (within Texas) for political reasons, then just be honest about itl initiate a per-county quota but use more wholistic admissions criteria that don’t create the pathologies present in the current policy.

    Tom B (743c1c)


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