“The new Jews of Harvard”

The title of an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal:

In practice, however, there is strong evidence that racial balance is the highest priority at schools like Harvard, and holistic admissions are used to obscure the racial bean-counting necessary to obtain the desired racial mix. At the California Institute of Technology, a selective private college that uses color-blind admissions, Asian enrollment grew steadily to 42.5% in 2013 from 29.8% two decades earlier, reflecting the nation’s growing Asian population. At Harvard, Asian enrollment consistently remained between 14.3% and 18.4%. Harvard would have us believe that this remarkable consistency in the percentages of Asian (and other racial and ethnic groups) on campus has been achieved without quotas.

Asian interest groups typically have sided with their liberal black and Hispanic counterparts in support of racial preferences, though the negative impact on high-achieving Asian youngsters has been obvious for decades. In 1995 Asian freshman enrollment at the University of California, Berkeley, stood at 37%. The next year California made it illegal for state universities to consider race in admissions, and inside of a decade Berkeley’s freshman class was nearly 47% Asian. UCLA experienced a similar spike in Asian undergrads over the same period, suggesting that the California schools had been doing what Harvard allegedly is still doing.

Last year the California legislature moved to reverse the ban on race-based admissions, but Asian-American lawmakers, primarily at the urging of their Asian constituents, pushed back hard. The legislative leadership dropped the matter. Ms. Li said the episode alerted many of her fellow activists: “That opened up many people’s eyes. They saw it as going backward. These race-based admissions policies pit one group against another.”

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