Stanford defends using race in admissions — submits brief to Supreme Court on behalf of Harvard

Stanford Memorial Church

BY ELAINE GOODMAN
Daily Post Correspondent

Stanford University is siding with Harvard in a Supreme Court case challenging the Ivy League school’s use of race as a factor in admissions – a practice that critics say discriminates against Asian Americans.

In a brief filed with the high court, Stanford said that it and other “highly selective” universities use race as “one factor among many” in selecting students from large pools of qualified applicants.

Diversity is “essential to innovation and progress,” especially in science, technology, engineering and math – also known as the STEM fields, Stanford said.

Stanford was joined in signing the brief by representatives of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, IBM and private company Aeris Communications. The brief’s authors argue that diversity in the STEM fields “promotes better science” and is key to economic growth in the U.S. “Race-conscious, holistic selection processes are essential to achieve diversity in STEM programs at selective colleges and universities, and to create a pipeline of diverse talent in STEM,” the brief said.

The case, Students for Fair Admissions v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, is scheduled for oral argument before the Supreme Court on Monday (Oct. 31).

Students for Fair Admissions, or SFFA, filed the lawsuit against Harvard in 2014. SFFA’s mission is to fight affirmative action in college admissions. The nonprofit is led by activist Edward Blum.

‘Holistic admissions’

In a filing with the Supreme Court, SFFA said that the “holistic admissions” approach used by some universities looks at not just an applicant’s race, but also subjective criteria such as “self-confidence,” “likability” and “courage.”

“Universities invite admissions officers to rely on anti-Asian stereotypes,” SFFA said in its filing. “These subjective criteria also conceal unspoken ceilings on Asian-American admissions.”

As a result, SFFA said, there’s an entire industry devoted to helping applicants appear “less Asian” on their college applications.

Federal funding allows for lawsuit

The lawsuit accuses Harvard of violating Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination in programs that receive federal funding. Private universities such as Harvard could keep their admission policies in place if they stopped accepting federal dollars, SFFA said.

A district court sided with Harvard in the case, as did the First Circuit Court of Appeals. SFFA then took the case to the Supreme Court.

SFFA filed a similar suit against the University of North Carolina. The Supreme Court is reviewing both cases.

Stanford denies it has quotas

Stanford said in its brief that more than 100,000 students apply each year to its undergraduate and graduate programs.

The university “strives to consider each candidate as a complete person,” the brief said. “It uses no quotas, targets, or determinative numerical thresholds of any kind, and does not engage in racial balancing.”

Stanford’s brief is just one of dozens filed in the case. More than 60 companies, including Apple Inc., Google LLC, HP Inc., and Meta Platforms Inc., filed a brief in support of Harvard, saying that diverse teams make better decisions and lead to greater profits and business success. Businesses must be ready to work with diverse customers and business partners, they said.

And U.S. businesses “work hand-in-hand with universities to recruit next-generation business leaders,” the companies said in their brief.

Although SFFA has suggested that universities use “race neutral” admission criteria, such as an applicant’s socioeconomic status, Stanford said in its brief that such a system wouldn’t work in terms of achieving student body diversity.

“Although socio-economic factors are considered in the holistic admissions process and help to foster diversity among certain important dimensions, they would not achieve the compelling interest … in achieving a racially diverse student body, including in STEM disciplines,” Stanford’s brief said.

12 Comments

  1. Let me see if I’ve got this right. These universities keep Asian students out but it’s not racial bias or a quota system, it’s something else they can’t describe? Monday’s hearing ought to be interesting.

  2. Why don’t these pompous arrogant educators “hire” more Asian football and basketball players for the Stanford teams. Lol.

    • Absolutely not!
      I’ve been interviewing for one of those “elite” college admissions’ office as an alum for going on 2 decades and let me tell you unequivocally that the test scores can so easily be “fooled” (see FBI’s Varsity Blue); in addition, GPA are just numbers and they differ so much from high school to high school that it’s not possible to “just look at GPA” and other test scores as you suggest. There are many many very brilliant students who are just not good at taking tests. We humans are not just numbers but have so many other facets which the whole application process is set up to discern.

      • You’re trying to get into COLLEGE, not running for Miss Congeniality. If you don’t have the GPA and the test scores, you don’t belong there. Learn how to take a test. The rest of us did. The truth hurts.

      • [Post deleted. Violation of Terms of Use. Commenter is using different names on the same thread. No sock puppets, please.]

  3. Stanford claims diversity is “essential to innovation and progress” but their definition never includes a diversity of viewpoints. A Yale survey (you can Google it, I don’t have the link) found that upwards of 97% of the incoming Freshman class at Yale voted for Biden in 2020. I’m sure Stanford students’ politics are closely similar. Faculty political views are overwhelmingly leftist too. So when Stanford boasts of having X% of blacks, Y% of Latinos, etc, what they really want are liberals who also happen to be members of those groups in sufficient numbers.

  4. Everyone should read this new book out by Chinese-American rights activist and president of the Asian American Coalition for Education Mike Zhao, who has grown increasingly concerned about the ongoing culture war in the United States, has spent the last two years writing a book, “Critical Race Theory and Woke Culture: America’s Dangerous Repeat of China’s Cultural Revolution,” which was published in September.

    The excessive focus on race by the media has to be questioned.

  5. [Post deleted. Violation of Terms of Use. Commenter is using different names on the same thread. No sock puppets, please.]

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