DOE Investigating UVa Affirmative Action Admissions

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating UVa’s affirmative action admissions policy, the AP reports. The investigation is based on a complaint filed by the parent of a white, male student from New York, who was denied admission to the incoming 2003 class. The father alleges that his son would have been admitted if he had been “a girl or a minority,” but it’s not clear how he knows that. The complaint is the first since the Supreme Court ruled in favor of UVa-styled affirmative action programs in 2003, in Grutter v. Bollinger, simultaneously striking down affirmative action admissions policies that are quota-based in Gratz v. Bollinger. (I’m writing a paper on these two cases for finals right now, which is how I’m justifying not actually working on the paper right now.) The complaint against UVa was filed in May of 2003, before the court ruling. 12/09 Update: Kate Andrews has the story in today’s Progress.

37 thoughts on “DOE Investigating UVa Affirmative Action Admissions”

  1. The weird thing about UVa’s admissions program is that their application emphasizes that they don’t discriminate on the basis of race, creed, class, religion, etc., etc. Yes they do. They argue that it’s a good thing, and I’m inclined to agree. (I didn’t favor affirmative action in university admissions until a the Grutter ruling, which I read, pondered, and realized that they were right and I was wrong.) So why does UVa claim otherwise?

    This is totally not getting my paper written, nor is it helping me memorize real estate property law or agricultural law. Gotta go.

  2. In every complaint from people who oppose AA they always say "well I had a high GPA and high SATs" Thing is on NO application does it say you’re garunteed a spot just because you have a "high GPA and SATs"… UVa has trouble admitting black students as it is…. The ones that do get in rarely come because of racist at this school and in the community (cops). I think they would be less upset if they read the application thoroughly and discovered that it doesnt say you WILL get in if you meet these standards. The also need to factor in essays…. They care A LOT about essays up here… Its funny how they say if he was a woman or minority….he didnt mention legacy, son/daughter of a big time doner because that would include white students and god knows white students dont get into ANY school because of affirmative action….. That is if you dont consider getting in because everyone in ur family went there or because ur parents donate millions to the school…… WHEN AA is struck down they better make damn sure that athletes with lower grades, legacy with lower grades, son/daughters of donners with lower grades DONT get in as well…. If they dont do away with this type of admissions as well it just shows how twisted and one sided their opinion is…. Americans dont want to say out loud but honestly I dont think Americans are any less racist then the 1940s. Its just not acceptable to say it candidly.

  3. That was a refresher. I had forgotten how much I used to like reading Supreme Court Decisions – so nice and concise.

    I doubt that this complaint will go anywhere. UVa’s policy is both ‘narrowly tailored’ and uses race as a ‘soft variable’ – or at least thats what they say. The key to the law as it stands is that race is one factor that can be used in a overall judgement of the candidate. With no quotas or formulas, there really is no fact to who gets in or doesn’t, which is why the father complaning here has no way of knowing if his kid would have gotten in if he were a minority or a girl.

    I both agree and disagree with affirmative action admissions. I learned as much in college by interacting with the people there than from classes – probably more. Who attends is part of the learning process, so schools should have a right to shape that. People from unique or difficult backgrounds had to work hard to be a candidate for UVa, so they are likely to be great additions to the school.

    But, I found it interesting that CL said in the previous post that UVa already has a hard time admitting blacks [or something like that]. Don’t we mean people from underprivileged backgrounds? Are we trying to satisfy ourselves that there are enough black faces at UVa, or do we really care about diverse cultural, economic, and family backgrounds. Even the people who call themselves crusaders for diversity are still making assumptions about a person’s character based on their skin color – they aren’t diverse because they don’t have enough blacks – black people are from a different culture than white people.

    A good friend and former UVa classmate of mine is black. People look at that and congratulate themselves on their diversity efforts. However, he is from Fairfax County, has upper middle class doctor and accountant parents, took AP classes in high school, lived on a cul-de-sac, drives a new Honda, and used to work at Abercrombie. Is he adding much to UVa’s diversity? Not really, his family and childhood was like a lot of other students at UVa. On the other hand, while I am white, I grew up in a very rural and very poor community, and am the first person in my family to ever go to college. However, no one thinks UVa is more diverse because I went there.

    The problem with the Supreme Court’s current opinion is that it is out of touch with how colleges are actually operating. Are they looking for candidates based on a wide range of academic, family, and cultural characteristics, one of which may be race, or are they trying to get some different colors of people in there so that they look diverse?

    At some point we need to decide: Is it, or is it not okay to judge someone based on the color of their skin?

  4. You are right… They should look more at economic status I assume… However I feel the same way you do.. I like being up here with people from different cultural backgrounds Ive learned a great deal about different cultures and its shaped my outlook on the world. I went to AHS here in Cville and there were so many different people there…. it was just great. Probably the most profound effect diversity has had on me is this guy who was very cool and just a great person well in 9th grade he came outa and said he was gay. Prior to that gay people were just somehting ive heard about. He put a face to everything that I had heard about and disproved all the stereotype which is why it annoys me how people talk about gays as if theyre some kind of monsters.

    Regardless of what anyone says I think diversity does teach you something. Not just in terms of black and white but religion, class, gender…everything.

  5. urbanitas = great post. the key thing for me in this issue is that SAT/GPA scores are never the only factor used in college admissions of any kind–nor should they be.

    Colleges admit people, not scores–people are more complex than scores. Scores tell you one thing about an applicant–namely, how well the applicant does on those kinds of tests. It can be useful to know how well an applicant does on those kinds of tests, and schools do indeed decide that they mostly want students who fall within in a certain range of scores. But they also decide they want other things–they want to promote geographic diversity. Believe it or not, they want kids from all over the country rather than just the southeast, for example. They want to respect legacy connections to the university; believe it or not, "legacy" is one of the things that gets noted on a kid’s record and it’s something admissions considers before admitting a kid. And, many schools want to create a racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse student body for the reasons that urbanitas describes–students learn as much valuable stuff from exposure to a diverse culture as they learn from their classes and tests. Colleges try to offer Life 101 as much as Stats 101, and they’ve decided that Life 101 requires a diverse student body.

    Urbanitas makes a great point about equating skin color with diversity–it’s never that simple. I’ve had black students who have the same economic background and opportunities as the stereotypical privileged white UVa kid. The white rural kids from southern VA usually get overlooked in the diversity calculations, and that’s wrong because their experiences and perspectives and outlooks are a valuable addition to the UVa pot.

    But, on the final question of is it okay or not to judge someone based on skin color: not to judge, certainly, if judging means drawing conclusions about someone’s personality or predisposition based on a quick glance at their skin. But I DO think that socioeconomic diversity is not enough: if UVa admitted 50% white kids from privileged NoVa families and 50% white kids from rural southwest VA and we had a great balance of socioeconomic status and ALL the kids were white, I don’t think that’s good enough. I do think that skin color matters–it doesn’t always trump socioeconomic class, but it’s a factor, and your black friend from Fairfax Cty who works at Abercrombie has SOME experiences and perspectives that ARE different BECAUSE he is black. Socioeconomic status is no more the single thing that differentiates groups than race is.

    My best classes, as a teacher, are far and away the ones that have a mix–some black, some white, some rural, some urban, some international students, some gay, some straight, some male, some female. By "best" I mean that these are the classes where students learn that not everyone thinks the same way they and their friends do, that sometimes experiences shape perspectives and that sometimes experiences DON’T shape perspectives. Remember, it can be valuable for the white straight NoVa-born, Comm-school destined fraternity member to learn that the black, poor football player from rural North Carolina actually feels the SAME way about certain issues–students can learn about the near-universality of some issues as well as the differences in perspective that spring from different backgrounds. And that’s valuable. Diversity doesn’t have to divide us–it can show us what things we have in common as well as what things separate us.

    My humble opinion.

  6. I agree that the only kind of affirmative action that gets rapped in the media is the kind that lets black and Hispanic students get an edge. Hardly anyone screams about legacy admissions. I have had students who are fifth generation in their very rich and historically connected family to attend UVa, and sometimes they are piss-poor students–they come for the frat/sororities, they come for the connections they’ll make with other rich connected people, and they are not academically oriented at all. Oh, but they’re white, so their merit goes unquestioned. my least favorite kind of student, bar none.

  7. In Kipling’s novel Kim, the boy-spy is taught to disguise himself with a skin lotion of walnut shell dye, to temporarily change races. Had Waldo taken that precaution before interviewing at U. Va. he would now be an Echols scholar with a full scholarship, instead of down at Virginia Tech laboring in the salt mines. And when after Waldo had been rejected for admission, twice, President Casteen met and went so far as to laud Waldo as an example of "one of U. Va.’s best–" he would have been right, rather than wrong as usual. This is all I need to know about affirmative action.

  8. I remember an article we had to read for my Public Opinion class written by two authors by the last names of Kinder & Saunders. What they basically say is back in the pre1950s, 1960s, part of the 1970s it was socially acceptable to be racist and prejduce against minorities mainly blacks. Then as time progressed and it became socially unacceptable to be blatently racist white America moved towards another feeling, racial resentment. Basically what the theory of racial resentment is that whites dont think blacks are inherently inferior like they used to think. Instead they think they are just too dependent and take what they havent worked for and dont deserve.

    Now I was kind of skeptical of this theory at first but it does explain why you hear so many complaints about affirmative action in terms of only black and white. "If I were black I would have gotten in." "There are lower standards for black students." But you never hear anyone say "If I were legacy I would have gotten in." or "If my parents donated millions to this school I would have gotten in." or "If my parents had a ton of money meaning they could pay the tuition in full I would have gotten in." or "If I were from a southern poor region I would have gotten in"…. Examples go on and on.. You see there are a lot of means of affirmative action that are never attacked as much or at all as much as the racial aspect of affirmative action. I want desperately to believe that we have moved pass racISM and dont want racial resentment to be an issue either… But im inclined to believe with all the evidence that racial resentment is what we have today… Im not sure what do you all think?

  9. I agree – there is racial resentment. In affirmative action, whites see black people getting things that they don’t feel they have earned. It really flips racial trends between black and white. Previously, blacks saw white kids go to the good schools, etc. – seemingly just for being white. Affirmative action certainly has a way of showing white people what racism feels like.

    But, does that mean affirmative action is working, or is the real goal to level the field so that no one gets a free pass because of the color of their skin, and is instead judged on the content of their character? (paraphrased from a smart guy who figured that out many years ago) In this way, some see affirmative action as a step in the right direction, while others see it as a step too far in the right direction.

    On an aside, affirmative action is almost always talked about as black and white – or sometimes black, white, and hispanic. As far as college admissions, are asians often considered within an affirmative action policy? Anyone know?

  10. I went through thinking that after the first two (sigh) times that I applied to UVa, on the assumption that surely my failure to gain admission couldn’t be my fault. I figured that if I’d just checked off that “Native American” box, I’d be in. But I ultimately came to the conclusion that such thinking was laughably obnoxious of me — there are any number of perfectly good reasons why they could turn me down, the lack of a accredited high school diploma and my potential to be a huge pain in the ass not the least of them.

    Where the transformation of thought regarding affirmative action came was when considering some of the reasons why I should be accepted. After all, if I were judged on a purely academic basis, they shouldn’t let me in, not by any stretch of the imagination. I thought that they should let me in on the merits of my being a booster of UVa, a contributor to the academical village in various capacities over the years, having great recommendations, being an alternaschooler, and (hopefully) eventually being an individual that UVa could be proud to accept. But none of these things are academic. What I was looking for them to do was to accept me on the basis of a variety of considerations of who I am as a human being. Sure, I might get a 50% on the academic rating, but couldn’t I get bumped up another 45% on these additional (real or imagined) merits?

    What that would be is using a ranking system that would take a variety of personal factors into account. Why shouldn’t race be one of those factors, if it can be a demonstrably-useful thing for the school like, say, frequency of appearing in newspapers for reasons other than arrest. :)

    (This alone didn’t convince me to change my mind. It was the realization that public education should serve for the betterment of the whole of the people of the commonwealth, not just to take the top 1% and raise them up further. Instead, I believe, the public university system on the whole should serve to better not just those most well-off, but those who stand to benefit greatly and enrich their family and community by those effects. I favor affirmative action for admission of students from Southside, rather than having a student body that consists entirely of Northern Virginia kids (through the assignation of additional points, as per the court decisions in question, not just letting in any dopes). This enriches the whole of the state, and not just those with the good fortune to be born into a wealthy family that could send them to a fancy preschool, get them a tutor, and send them to an expensive private high school.)

    Anyhow, I did agree with you, but I no longer do. My mind is far from settled on the matter, and I always enjoy discussing affirmative action. It’s a pleasant irony that I had to be turned down from a public university three times to come to realize that perhaps it was my fault, not their’s, and that my reliance on an affirmative action boogeyman was nothing more than an ego crutch.

    I’m in a exam review session where the questions being asked aren’t useful to me. Nice to get a few minutes to catch up on the outside world. :)

  11. I think that affirmative action is a blunt, clumsy, well-intended and probably still necessary instrument. It’s well intentioned b/c it’s trying to level the playing field. It’s probably still necessary b/c when you remove it, say from college admissions considerations, minority acceptances (black, hispanic) tend to drop (that’s what happened at California public institutions). And, as is clear from my other posts, I think that’s a bad thing for America.

    But it is a blunt, clumsy instrument, like any institutional policy. It ends up, at times, giving someone an opportunity to go to UVa who maybe can’t really hack it at UVa and fails (although maybe just giving someone the opportunity to _try_ to hack it–even if they fail–is laudable.) It ends up creating new resentments among people who feel that they have done nothing to deserve being displaced from something that they may have thought was their birthright (i.e., admission to UVa). I think the resentment is a significant thing to consider when you evaluate AA policies, but in the end I think that an America without any AA policies in some form is a worse-off America.

    As far as Asians go, I don’t know–I think they "count" towards a school’s diversity credentials (which is mostly a marketing thing, "look how diverse we are!"), but I don’t think that too many Asian students with relatively low test scores are displacing white students with higher scores. That’s probably because there are enough Asian students with higher test scores displacing white students with lower scores. Not to fall into the model minority trap, of course…

  12. The thing I find most interesting is that people always say that black person took MY spot or some other whites spot that sounds kinda strange to me. The thing about lower standards I know as a black student I was usually taught that I had to work harder than the average student to get what I wanted not I would get into any school I wanted to just because Im black… I think the best way to rid ourselves of AA is to fund to the underfunded schools of the innercity and poor rural areas. These kids dont have a fair chance and I think thats the issue to tackle to eliminate AA.

  13. Yours, the next comment about racial resentment, and the comments on that comment have articulated sound, moderate and thoughtful views. It is an especially interesting point whether skin color should weigh more heavily than other accidental advantages like family wealth or alumni legacy or geographic distribution. On the basic question of whether it actually did though–you have at your disposal a simple test. Re-file your three times rejected application. This time use a doctored photo and a name that sounds ethnic. See what happens. Then you’ll have an empirical basis from which to judge. Shucks you might even get to be a witness in the case that started this discussion.

  14. "Re-file your three times rejected application. This time use a doctored photo and a name that sounds ethnic"

    ….or a name that sounds familiar (Kennedy, Bush, Smith….) you know the legacy sounding now. Or bost of large incomes and have family connections. Again this was once again put in context of white v. nonwhite

  15. Letting in the children of the rich and connected is going to be a hard habit for schools like UVa to break, no matter how big a slacker Prescot IV happens to be – when the state won’t help out, pandering starts to look pretty good.

  16. “It is an especially interesting point whether skin color should weigh more heavily than other accidental advantages like family wealth or alumni legacy or geographic distribution.”

    I don’t think anyone is arguing that skin color should weigh more heavily, or even that it currently does weigh more heavily. I think it weighs equally as much as alumni legacy/famous connections, geographic distribution, etc., and I am okay with that. It seems to me just another of the university’s commitments to building a certain kind of student body.

    “Re-file your three times rejected application. This time use a doctored photo and a name that sounds ethnic. See what happens. Then you’ll have an empirical basis from which to judge.”

    I doubt this would work–admissions, like very large job searches, are a big crapshoot, I think. By that I mean there’s no firm, reliable logic to the process that guarantees from day to day to day that the results come out the same each time. When you have a huge pool of applicants and a limited # of spaces, a lot of the decisions come down to unreplicable whims. Obviously, there are checks and balances in place to assure some level of objectivity (whatever that is). But I’m pretty certain that if you ran the admissions experiment over and over with the same applicant pool, you’d accept a slightly different pool of kids each time. And for that reason, I don’t think you can run the test you describe and get any kind of reliable answer. Maybe if Waldo applied as Waldo Ethnicname with a doctored photo, he would get in–but then again we don’t know that if Waldo Jaquith applied a third time with his own photo that he wouldn’t get in that time, either.

  17. I always read and admire Cecil’s thoughtful comments but this time I must with deference, differ. Admissions are not as arbitrary as one might think. I was involved–admittedly at the graduate and not undergraduate level and only very briefly, but enough to offer an overview. Waldo thrice getting rejected is an example of predictability. Something in his application reliably disqualifies him. Probably geographic proximity, since alternative schooling can be a plus, and his extra-curriculars were exceptional. Might also be SAT scores. Anyway something in there works every time to get a "no." If an ethnic Waldo got accepted on the same credentials that would mean he got in ahead of alumni legacies. Some of them got rejected. And rich folks got rejected, and applicants from Guam. An ethnic Waldo got in on credentials three times deemed insufficient for white Waldo. Cecil is right that is nowhere near scientific proof, since it does not eliminate all variables. But in a civil courtroom that would be called strong circumstantial evidence giving rise to a presumption, that skin color made the difference. It would shift the burden to the opposition. They’d then need to counter by showing that skin color alone did not outweigh whatever disqualifying factors got him thrice rejected.

    I don’t think U. Va. admissions is subject to the Virginia FOIA but if it were, an interesting request would be to find out acceptance rates for each of the ethnic categories on the application form.

  18. For the record, my SAT scores were a post-adjustment 1390 (I got 1320, but they’ve changed the formula since, so now it’s reported as a 1390). Nothing record-breaking, but nothing to by shy about — it’s somewhat above the UVa average of a shade over 1300, IIRC. I took ’em when I was 15 — it would have been smart of me to retake them sometime in the past decade. Live and learn.

  19. you caught me–i actually don’t know anything about admissions. and i also think it’s a travesty and a shame that UVa didn’t admit Waldo.

  20. Exerpt from radio talk show person:


    "As an example, many high school students in Virginia work very hard during their academic careers with the goal of being accepted for admission to the University of Virginia (UVA). I analyzed data on applicants for the 2001-2002 academic year at UVA.

    UVA accepted 61% of African American applicants. This acceptance rate was the highest among all the racial/ethnic groups, and contrasted with acceptance rates of 37% for Asian Americans, 35% for White Americans, and 32% for Hispanic Americans.

    African Americans offered admission to UVA had an average total SAT score of 1193. This SAT score was the lowest of any racial/ethnic group, and contrasted with an average total SAT score of 1386 for Asian Americans, 1368 for White Americans, and 1331 for Hispanic Americans.

    UVA did not provide GPAs for all applicants offered admission; only for those who accepted admission. The average GPA of an African American in UVA’s fall 2001 entering freshman class was 3.7. This GPA score was the lowest of any racial/ethnic group, and contrasted with an average GPA of 4.0 for Asian Americans, 4.0 for White Americans and 4.0 for Hispanic Americans."


    I’m leaving out the source of the information to help avoid those that would ignore the data and present only personal attacks. So here’s the data, have fun.

  21. [The name my grandmother gave her yellow Oldsmobile, hearkening back to her youth, when people were scared of the Asian hoards. In truth anybody on the road was justifiably scared of her car.]

    Helpful though a little painful to read these figures. The original news article which I finally read –since I much prefer reading Waldo’s website–also offered the following startling contrast:

    Roger B. Clegg, general counsel for the Center for Equal Opportunity, said UVa and William & Mary were targeted because of “very severe discrimination.” A black student who has an LSAT score of 160 and an undergraduate grade point average of 3.5 has a 95 percent chance of getting into UVa’s law school, Clegg said. The odds drop to 3 percent for a white student, he said.

    I think most can probably agree on this: Affirmative action remains a necessary evil. Evil, yes. Not to be confused with a good thing. I disagree with those who mistake an evil for a good thing. Not to be lauded and praised and slapped on the back. Certainly not promoted and encouraged beyond the pressing neccessity.

    But still necessary, and who knows for how long? Our skewed social situation was over 300 years in the making. Maybe we’ll need a corrective for the next 300. But we do need it.

    I also disagree with the name ‘affirmative action,’ which like the phrase ‘final solution’ is a way not to look it in the face. Call it a racial preference and then deal with the fact that we need it.

  22. "many high school students in Virginia work very hard during their academic careers with the goal of being accepted for admission to the University of Virginia (UVA)." Possibly the least controversial or even informative statement ever uttered here on–yes, of course, many white/Asian/Hispanic/African-American high school students in VA "work very hard" in hopes of being accepted to UVa. Hard work is commendable, it instills character (usually), it’s a great thing. Here’s two things that hard work is NOT, at least not necesarily.

    Not Thing One: Hard work is not necessarily good work. I have to tell this to my students every semester, when they tell me how hard they worked on their not-very-good papers. One can work very hard at something with very poor results. Hours of hours of work can produce a C paper; an all-nighter can produce an A paper. We find this to be true in business all the time, too–one can work very hard on the Smithers account and still do it totally wrong and lose the Smithers account (and, possibly, one’s job). It would be nice if hard work was always a reliable indicator of quality results, but it isn’t.

    Not Thing Two: Hard work is also not necessarily logically related to SAT scores. Some kids don’t work particularly hard and have great SAT scores; some kids work extremely hard and have poor SAT scores. I didn’t work hard AT ALL in school (to my present shame and regret) and I got pretty good SAT scores. I just test well. Doesn’t make me a better person than anyone else and certainly doesn’t mean I’ve worked hard all my life. So we have to be careful to draw some kind of moralistic conclusion about how the people with the highest SAT scores must have worked the hardest and therefore must be the most morally deserving of admissions.

    In NelsonR’s post, the quote includes information about GPAs for all applicants accepted to UVa. I’m a little puzzled by the 3.7/4.0 averages quoted here, b/c I was pretty certain that UVa runs on a grade point scale of 4.0. That would mean that the average GPA for Asians/Hispanics/whites of 4.0 means perfect grades as an average. That’s not possible. So either I’m wrong and UVa runs on a 5.0 scale or the quote is wrong/confusing. NelsonR gives us no source for the quote (rather defensively) and so, guess what, we can’t check its veracity.

    But in regards to the data about average SAT scores for the Usual Racial/Ethnic Suspects:

    1) I wish someone would provide, or at least show an interest in providing, data on average SAT scores/GPAs of legacy admissions or admissions of the offspring of extremely rich people. What if the legacy admissions generally ran GPAs of 2.5/4.0? Where’s the outrage that the dumb son of the founder one of America’s Fortune 500 companies "took my spot" at UVa? It might be enlightening. As it is, this data just reinforces the usual white American fixation on other racial categories and how they stack up against whites.

    2) That the Af-Ams have on average lower SAT scores is not, to me, surprising or alarming. It’s not surprising to me b/c I believe that even today, African Americans don’t start out (on average) on an equal footing with other racial categories. It’s not alarming because I don’t believe a public university’s mission is to find the people with the highest SAT scores and serve only them.

    I come back to a question that will probably seem stupid to some people, but here goes: why is it discrimination to admit some kids with lower SAT scores than other kids? Isn’t that what the complaint boils down to? Joe X has an SAT score of 1390, and he is not admitted; somewhere in the university there is a kid with an SAT score of 1290 (or 1190 or 990), so ipso facto Joe was discriminated against. But why? what’s the underlying logic, what are the underlying warrants, that validate this line of reasoning?

  23. Despite tens of thousands of dollars and nearly 20 years of first rate education, despite the moral and intellectual legacy of a half dozen generations of a solid family, despite my skin of the second highest testing color–still I can’t spell. Somehow the persistence of my own dumbness despite all those advantages is reassuring. It suggests the inverse may also be true, that for others intelligence too might find a way to persevere, despite all societal obstructions and barriers and hindrances.

  24. I think most can probably agree on this: Affirmative action remains a necessary evil. Evil, yes. Not to be confused with a good thing. I disagree with those who mistake an evil for a good thing. Not to be lauded and praised and slapped on the back. Certainly not promoted and encouraged beyond the pressing neccessity.

    I hate to post a “me too,” but, yes, I quite agree with you.

  25. "I’m leaving out the source of the information to help avoid those that would ignore the data and present only personal attacks. So here’s the data, have fun"

    Well thats unfair. If it came from someone like Rush Limbough, Bill O’Rielly, Anne Coulter, or other right winged extremist and racist then we have good reason to ignore the source. Those people arent exactly known for telling the truth. They are only known for reinforcing the opinions of people who think like them.

    Granted this may show some general idea of whats going on. However, I have a hard time believing that when you average in those kids who got in for legacy, being a rich kid, are players on a sports team, had connections, etc. that you would have an average GPA of 4.0 for all other racial groups besides blacks. For that reason I think the facts are skewed to support their side.

    I have another question. If blacks are admitted at a rate of 61% why do they only make up less than 10% of the student body? These "facts" are missing a very important factor: how many blacks applied in the first place? how many whites applied? how many hispanic Americans applied? As I have said before this school isnt exactly known to be the most friendly place for a black person to be so many are going elsewhere or blacks with comparable GPAs and SATs are going elsewhere.

    As I have put in another post I feel these attacks of affirmative action are motivated primarily by racial resentment. Again as Ive said before, if these attacks werent motivated by race they would be complaining about other students who get in because of other things than grades and scores.

  26. How does the source matter again? Please feel free to dispute the numbers … reasonable arguements should be able to be made on or against the numbers themselves. Can you provide any raw data (maybe quotes) that show those three people are racist? Pretty harsh criticism if unfounded.

    Simply put, the number is saying that if 100 African Americans applied, 61 were accepted. The total number of applications makes no difference, because …

    Affirmative Action was designed and implemented so that IF two people were EQUAL across the board, the institution could choose the minority person. However, the two people must be equal before race can used as a determining factor. People too often confuse this with quota systems which have been ruled against by the courts. Based on the numbers provided, its quite obvious that on an academic level, the different races are not treated equally.

    When comparing the three minorities African Americans, Asian, and Hispanics … it shows that one specific minority is treated much differently than the other two. This in itself is completely out of line with the idea of affirmative action itself …

  27. I DID dispute the numbers. I said that UVa runs on a 4.0 scale, not a 5.0 scale, which makes the quoted 4.0 AVERAGE for whites and Asians impossible. (To be an average, it would mean that they ALL got a 4.0/4.0 and that’s not possible–I know b/c I’ve flunked some of them!)

    And so, NelsonR, if that part of the quote is factually wrong, it casts a suspicious light on the rest of the information data–the whole thing is suspect.

    And if you withhold the source for the quote, meaning we can’t look it up to verify the author’s sources, IT MEANS THE QUOTE IS UNRELIABLE.

    More later.

  28. "Affirmative Action was designed and implemented so that IF two people were EQUAL across the board, the institution could choose the minority person."

    But the question here is this: what does equal mean? You seem to assume that SAT scores are the basis–if we both have a 1320, then we’re equal, but if you have a 1320 and I have a 1300, then we’re not (you’re better than me, maybe you’d say).

    But universities have NEVER–not even when they accepted only whites–boiled down their admissions process to a simple ranking of SAT scores. There have ALWAYS been considerations that let an 1100 SAT in ahead of a 1340. In the past, that 1100 might have been white George W. Bush displacing white son-of-nobody-special. Today, the 1100 might belong to an African-American student who graduated valedictorian in her inner-city high school. The two situations seem to me to be basically the same.

    So, my question is, how on earth do you judge the equality of two applicants, if you accept that SAT scores alone have never been and for good reasons will probably never be the sole criterion upon which admission is based?

  29. You write, "Can you provide any raw data (maybe quotes) that show those three people are racist?"

    Oooh….that’s going to be tough more me to do, to provide quotes that those three people are racist, SINCE YOU DON’T GIVE THE SOURCE OF THE QUOTE FOR PEOPLE TO TRACK DOWN THE WHOLE CONTEXT OF THE QUOTE AND VERIFY IT FOR OURSELVES.

  30. I believe the quoted numbers are based on a 4.0 scale.

    I believe the GPA being referenced is that of the students entering in freshman year … referring to the GPA coming out of high school. Since some students actually have a GPA score of greater than 4.0 (on a 4.0 scale) due to AP classes and the like … I would believe that with the average being 4.0, the range would likely be in the neighborhood of 3.8 to 4.2 (or something similar).

    So far, I don’t see anything disputable yet.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to request/acquire this information from the University?

  31. Actually, I think the original post is assuming that the TWO primary comparisons of inidividials applying to enter an academic insititution would be GPA and SAT scores. Granted, institutions don’t solely look at these two academic acheivements — they still look at other extracuricular activities, essays, and so on …

    However, I don’t know of a lot of criteria you would weight large enough to span the discrepencies in GPA and SAT differences … especially when the discrepencies exist between minorities themselves.

    I’m a little confused why the evil White guy factor even keeps coming up … these are large discrepencies not just compared with White students but also Asian and Hispanic. If the answer is Affirmative Action, it surely seems very selective to me.

  32. You seem to indicate that "Rush Limbough, Bill O’Rielly, Anne Coulter" and others are racist. I was simply asking for details in how you came up with such an acquisation.

  33. I dont buy the crap at all. You ask for proof that the people are racist. Well as far as I know none of the three have actually come out and said "im a racist" but judging from the things they do and say its not hard to tell. Why did O’Rielly target Ludacris for his Pepsi comericials because of obsene comments but thought it was OK for the Osbournes to do the same commercial? Why did Rush make the statement "our founding father were white protestant men who smoked" im not kidding he added the smoke part (source: nbc people in the news programs) Why did he play the song of a black blues singer and paused it in between each sentence to make a cynical comment often degrading. (NBC People in the News) Anne Coulter, well I have no examples for her I just cant stand that psychotic lying ______!!!! fill in the blank.

    You say if the entire applicant pool were black 61% would get in? I dont buy that… The reason why I asked how many # wise applied is because if there is a smaller # then it would explain why a larger percent of blacks get in within that group.. Keep in mind blacks still make no more than 9% of this schools population…

    And your average 4.0 among ALL OTHER groups but blacks I find to be rather odd and quite frankly I think whatever the source was is a racist source. But then again how do I know its not like you gave a source. Without a source your "facts" are invalid as far as Im concerned.

  34. You’re giving way too much credit to the entering classes at UVa to assume that enough of them come in with a higher-than-4.0/4.0 average to bring up the whole average to 4.0/4.0. I teach first-year students, I see their SAT scores, I see the grades they get here, and it is not possible that whites and Asians are coming in with 4.0/4.0 averages. That may not be convincing for you, but for me, my own experience with the kids and my own knowledge of their SAT scores is way more convincing to me than your unsourced possibly fictitious quotation from some anonymous someone.

  35. My point stands that no university has ever set up admissions such that they simply look at numbers–GPA and SAT score–and then rank the numbers, taking the student with the highest #s first, second highest second, and so on until each spot is taken. That is not how admissions happened back in the days when American universities were whites-only. Colleges have always, as I said in other post, admitted people, not scores. So you have always had people with lower SAT/GPA scores getting in ahead of people with higher SAT/GPA scores. It’s not as if before affirmative action we inhabited this golden age of college admissions when only the "right" people got into UVa.

    You don’t know of a lot of criteria you would weight heavily enough to cover the discrepancies in SAT/GPA differences because you are fetishizing (my word of the week) test scores over everything else–in other words, your argument is circular. You say nothing can count more than these numbers because these numbers count the most. I think what admissions people will tell you is that numbers are just one thing they consider–they also consider, as you say, extracurriculars, essays, but then things you leave out–legacy, wealth/prominence of family, whether or not the kid is a great linebacker prospect, geographical uniqueness (both internationally and US), and the kid’s history–a unique kid as opposed to one who did everything by the numbers.

    I think the general public puts a lot more stock in SAT/GPA scores because those are numbers–easily graspable, they look like they tell you something meaningful (although they really don’t), and they can easily be stacked up and compared. The real things that admissions considers seem too vague and subjective, so people assume that those things must not really matter much or SHOULD not matter much. If you actually work with college students, you pretty quickly figure out how little a kid’s high school GPA and SAT scores matter once they get here. i would ask why SHOULD GPA and SAT scores be weighted most heavily in admissions?

    an issue that has not yet been raised is that, I believe, the state requires UVa (and probably other state schools) to admit any VA student graduating in the top 5% (or something like that) of his/her class. (Not give scholarship to, mind you, but admit if the kid applies.) If that’s true, then naturally you’re going to have kids with lower SAT scores getting in "ahead" of kids with higher SAT scores, because it’s more than possible (in fact it’s all but guaranteed) that what passes for top 5% in some VA high schools is very different for what passes for top 5% in other VA schools. In some VA high schools, the top 50% probably beats out the top 5% of other high schools in terms of standardized test scores. So there’s another way in which allegedly "deserving" kids could get squeezed out by other, somehow undeserving kids. the world is full of what appears to be unfairness like this.

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