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UCLA Faculty Member Resigns from Admissions Committee, Alleges Possible Violations of the Law by UCLA:

From the Orange County Register:

A professor who said he suspects UCLA is cheating to illegally admit black students resigned today from its admissions committee, saying the university refused to provide him the data he needs to investigate his suspicions.

Prof. Tim Groseclose's "Report on Suspected Malfeasance in UCLA Admissions and the Accompanying Cover-Up is available online. Groseclose also attaches letters from three other (nonvoting) committee members, including two student members, that support his view that the university has not been sufficiently willing to allow possibly critical examination of the underlying data.

Naturally, if there's a formal response to Prof. Groseclose's allegations, I'd love to link to it, and the Register article notes that "Campus officials deny the accusations and say they're following the law. Privacy concerns prevented the university from giving Groseclose the data he wanted, officials said." (Groseclose spends some time in his report arguing that these privacy arguments are not sound.)

Congratulations on the scoop to Marla Jo Fisher at the Register.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. The L.A .Times on Prof. Groseclose's Allegations of Possible Malfeasance in UCLA Admissions:
  2. UCLA's Short Response to Prof. Groseclose's Allegations:
  3. UCLA Faculty Member Resigns from Admissions Committee, Alleges Possible Violations of the Law by UCLA:
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
How long before white students start planting details in their essays to make them look african american. Mentioning there work with ACORN or for the Rainbow coalition or something.

Wouldn't the UCLA admissions committee people be surprised at all the somewhat under qualified light skinned applicants they admitted ??? LOL.

If an applicant's essay recited various types of community service and volunteer work actually performed but merely changed the name of the charitable organizations for which they did this volunteer work to ones with more black sounding names and objectives could the University hold it against them later if they found out the application described real work actually done but the organization for whom the work was done was misleading or even deliberately incorrect?

After all if the University was following the law then the actual name of the charitable organization shouldn't make any difference whatsoever.

Says the "Dog"
8.29.2008 1:07am
Mike& (mail):
That report is amazing.

Even though it has nothing to do with legal analysis (at least up to page 10, which I'm on), law students could learn much about marshaling evidence from reading that report. Wow.
8.29.2008 1:08am
Cornellian (mail):
I just heard a sound, like something hitting a fan.
8.29.2008 1:11am
Simon Kardner (mail):
How would you avoid mentioning your own race on an admission essay about a personal subject? And, isn't it unfair to students to expect them not to talk about their racial or cultural or ethnic or religious difference if it is relevant to the topic of the essay? I would imagine a Hutu should be able to write about being a survivor of genocide.
8.29.2008 5:06am
Lior:
The whole point of "personal essays" and other fuzzy (non-academic) admission information is to make the process sufficiently subjective and opaque that applicants from favoured groups can be selected and undesirable groups rejected independently of actual merit. Originally (see here) these policies were introduced after the adoption of objective admission policies led to too many Jews (and, in smaller numbers, Catholics and Chinese students) being admitted. Moving from an academic-criteria-only policy to a "different-kinds-of-merit" admission policy allowed the Ivy Legaue schools (led by Harvard and its President, Lowell) to reduce the number of Jewish students without setting a quota.

The same policy has continued since, except that the discriminatory intents have evolved. The "Jewish problem" is no longer a problem. Today, the concern is the over-representation of Asians, Indians and Whites. Originally, the admission essay was where the applicant communicated his WASP heritage and social connections. Today the admission office selects for a different racial group, but nothing has really changed.

Simon asks: "How would you avoid mentioning your own race on an admission essay about a personal subject?". I would answer: "You cannot avoid mentioning your own race in the rubric where the university asks for it to be mentioned".
8.29.2008 7:13am
SKardner (mail):
Today, the concern is the over-representation of Asians [and] Indians.

Ah. That is more accurate.

Simon asks: "How would you avoid mentioning your own race on an admission essay about a personal subject?". I would answer: "You cannot avoid mentioning your own race in the rubric where the university asks for it to be mentioned".

In addition to distorting my comments gratuitously, this misses the mark. Mention of race, ethnicity, religion, or culture may be perfectly relevant to an essay about a person's life, values, and character. The only reason I can imagine to prevent the Hutu from writing about surviving genocide is that your personal biography is boring, regardless of race, ethnicity, culture, or religion, and you are afraid of losing to someone with a more compelling narrative.
8.29.2008 9:12am
Ryan Waxx (mail):
Because as everyone knows, surviving genocide is key to academic success.
8.29.2008 9:31am
SKardner (mail):
Because as everyone knows, surviving genocide is key to academic success.

I wrote about personal biography, values, and character. There is more to an educational mission than ability to crunch numbers. Not to mention if academic success were all that mattered, legacies would not exist and Ivy League schools would be 99.9% Asian and Indian.
8.29.2008 9:37am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
It is interesting that the favored group of the day always has the more interesting lives. Coincidence, says I.
8.29.2008 10:30am
Lior:
In addition to distorting my comments gratuitously, this misses the mark. Mention of race, ethnicity, religion, or culture may be perfectly relevant to an essay about a person's life, values, and character.


I think you have the situation backwards. The applicant's "life, values, and character" are mostly of interest to the extent that they reveal what the admission office really wants to know: the applicant's race. This is why these essays were introduced originally; today they are still are used for this purpose. Mentioning the ethnicity is not merely "relevant" or "difficult to avoid" -- mentioning the ethnicity is a crucial point, the main reason the essay is written at all.

Simon: The problem is not me misrepresenting you (I quoted your question word-for-word) -- it is you misunderstanding mine. I was not and am not objecting to the mentioning of ethnicity or any particular detail in admissions essays, or suggesting that applicants should somehow sanitize their writings to hide particular details. That would be at the same time impossible and pointless.

Rather, I believe you are engaging in the wrong debate. The problem is not whether applicants can, should, or will reveal or hide their ethnicity when writing their essays, or which life experiences they should discuss. The problem is the existence of the essays themselves.

By making admission crucially depend on such subjective and ill-defined notions as "character", the universities have created for themselves the freedom to arbitrarily admit and reject applicants based on irrelevant agendas (such as racial quotas) while maintaining the facade of an objective admission process where they took "the best applicants".
8.29.2008 10:41am
The Drill SGT:
I'm a grad of UCD and UCI/UCLA. from the 70's. My experience therefore is a bit dated now, but I always thought it ironic that UCLA will favor the son of a black Lehman Brothers partner over the son of a stone age tribesman (the Meo refugees from Laos in the 70's). Of course the Meo were on the wrong side (US) of the Vietnam war as well.
8.29.2008 10:46am
SKardner (mail):
I was not and am not objecting to the mentioning of ethnicity or any particular detail in admissions essays, or suggesting that applicants should somehow sanitize their writings to hide particular details.

Good. Because such an argument would be ridiculous.


By making admission crucially depend on such subjective and ill-defined notions as "character", the universities have created for themselves the freedom to arbitrarily admit and reject applicants based on irrelevant agendas (such as racial quotas) while maintaining the facade of an objective admission process where they took "the best applicants".

I think you are a cynical person. I think character is real and that it matters.
8.29.2008 10:46am
Lior:
Not to mention if academic success were all that mattered ... Ivy League schools would be 99.9% Asian and Indian.


Is it just me, or do others also find this statement racist?

First of all, we all know that it is not true that among the top students in the country only one in a thousand is not Asian. For all your "yellow menace" talk, Asian-Americans are a small minority (less than 5%) and are a minority even at the top (though there they comprise more than 5%, of course).

More importantly, why should Ivy League schools care about the ethnicity of their students? A University's mission should be to educate individual students, not ethnic tokens. Whoever is best prepared and has the best aptitude should get in.

By the way, the simplest fix to the "declining grade school standards" complaint is to return to merit-based university admission. If getting into university required actually learning something in high-school (for example, learning enough to pass an entrance exam) then high-schools would have no choice but to raise their standards.
8.29.2008 11:00am
SKardner (mail):
For all your "yellow menace" talk, Asian-Americans are a small minority (less than 5%) and are a minority even at the top (though there they comprise more than 5%, of course).

I never suggested that Asians and Indians are a "yellow menace." My point was that purely merit-based admissions would result in mostly Asian and Indian student bodies at the top ten universities. Unlike you, I don't have a problem with that, but I don't think that evaluating character with essays is incompatible with merit. A person without character or values is not meritorious: how that is a racist assertion I find difficult to understand.
8.29.2008 11:06am
SKardner (mail):
[W]hy should Ivy League schools care about the ethnicity of their students? A University's mission should be to educate individual students, not ethnic tokens. Whoever is best prepared and has the best aptitude should get in.

The universities themselves decide what preparedness and aptitude means. I imagine that surviving genocide may entail a level of maturity, depth of insight, and strength of character that admissions boards are looking for. I'm not sure how you talk about escaping ethnic cleansing without mentioning ethnicity. Nor am I sure why you think such an applicant would be a token, rather than a meritorious admit. It sounds like you're the racist here.
8.29.2008 11:10am
SKardner (mail):
Correction:

[W]hy should Ivy League schools care about the ethnicity of their students? A University's mission should be to educate individual students, not ethnic tokens. Whoever is best prepared and has the best aptitude should get in.

The universities themselves decide what preparedness and aptitude means. I imagine that surviving genocide may entail a level of maturity, depth of insight, and strength of character that admissions boards are looking for. I'm not sure how you talk about escaping ethnic cleansing without mentioning ethnicity. Nor am I sure why you think such an applicant would be a token, rather than a meritorious admit. It sounds like you're the racist here.
8.29.2008 11:11am
Lior:
Character is quite real, but what has it got to do with university admissions? I select my friends based on their character, but the students are by and large not my personal friends. Have you actually taught college students? Taking in students of good character and little preparation so we can begin to teach them what they should have learned in elementary school and high-school and then give them good grades for weak performance does not make for a good educational system, especially when we couple it with the clear anti-intellectual message that we send by rejecting better applicants for weaker ones.

Now also consider the fact that the "lack of character" that got the better students rejected is usually a codeword for "not of the desired ethnicity". In the 1920s is was acceptable to base admission policy on the idea that grade-grubbing Jews didn't have proper character as exemplified by athletic "gentleman's C" Protestant Anglo-Saxon boys. Today you can't say such things out loud about the Jews, but it is sure acceptable to say the same things about Asians.
8.29.2008 11:26am
SKardner (mail):
Character is quite real, but what has it got to do with university admissions?

Whatever universities say it does. It's their admissions process. Not yours.

Today you can't say such things out loud about the Jews, but it is sure acceptable to say the same things about Asians.

You're the one arguing that Indians are a "yellow menace" -- ironically both racist and color blind; I am the one arguing that Asians and Indians are underrepresented in elite institutions. The only person making vile comments about Asians here is you, Mr. Yellow Menace.
8.29.2008 11:29am
Lior:
I'm not sure how you talk about escaping ethnic cleansing without mentioning ethnicity.


Could you explain what escaping ethnic cleansing has to do with academic ability? with academic preparation?

It is surely the case that those who escape ethnic cleansing are sufficiently atypical that the usual methods for predicting college success might not work for them. But such students are the rare exception, not the rule. They need to be judged individually anyway. For almost all applicants their grades and SAT scores are pretty good predictors of academic success.

Here's a simpler test of character than the fuzzy one currently in use: those students who are serious about going to university but didn't get a good enough high-school education can take an extra year or two to catch up -- in community college, by themselves with textbooks, or in some other method. They could then apply to university based on actual academics.
8.29.2008 11:35am
SKardner (mail):
academic ability? with academic preparation?

You seem to think that universities set their mission to simply having students recapitulate lecture notes. They do not set their missions so narrowly. Your argument is akin to arguing the Earth is flat.

Here is an example of a school's mission statement. Note that Attitudes is a section. Have a nice day.
8.29.2008 11:41am
Lior:
You're the one arguing that Indians are a "yellow menace" -- ironically both racist and color blind; I am the one arguing that Asians and Indians are underrepresented in elite institutions. The only person making vile comments about Asians here is you, Mr. Yellow Menace.


Did you actually read what I've been writing? Do you actually know the statistics? In fact, Asian-Americans are over-represented in elite institutions (see, for example, here), compared to their proportion in the population. Were it not for affirmative action their representation would be even higher. Moreover, you were the one asserting that merit-based admissions would lead to 99.9% Asian representation, clearly implying that would be a bad thing, while I was saying that admitting the best students of any ethnicity would be a great idea.
8.29.2008 11:45am
SKardner (mail):
In fact, Asian-Americans are over-represented in elite institutions (see, for example, here), compared to their proportion in the population.

My point is that Asians and Indians are underrepresented in elite institutions compared to their merit.

Moreover, you were the one asserting that merit-based admissions would lead to 99.9% Asian representation, clearly implying that would be a bad thing

There is no implication that is a bad thing. You are the one who thinks it would be bad. That is why you called it a "yellow menace".
8.29.2008 11:48am
Big Bill (mail):
JunkYardLawDog:

"How long before white students start planting details in their essays to make them look african american. Mentioning there work with ACORN or for the Rainbow coalition or something.
Wouldn't the UCLA admissions committee people be surprised at all the somewhat under qualified light skinned applicants they admitted ??? LOL. "
What do you mean by "make them look African American"?

According to the "one drop" rule, tens of millions of lily white Americans really are black. Perhaps 100 million "whites" could plausibly claim blackness through genealogical research or DNA evidence (and supporting expert affidavits) in an ex parte proceeding at a county court or state agency level to correct one's birth certificate.

No one need know, nor would they know since the decisions are at the agency or county court level (depending upon the state). How many county courthouses do you want to visit? How many state agency FOIA requests do you want to pay for? Westlaw is no help. Search Westlaw for "birth record error" and tell me what you find.

As long as reporters don't get involved and raise a stink, most county court judges or state agency bureaucrats really don't care (being racially orthodox and not thinking outside the box they are more puzzled than anything else).

Other than a handful of reporters, why would anyone else involved even care to look?

After all, who in their right mind would change one's race to black?

There really is nothing to gain by being black, is there? We all know that.

Why, just think of the discrimination against blacks by UCLA, by Fortune 500 companies, by lenders like Countrywide who redline minority purchasers, by leading law firms, by faculty hiring committees, by tenure committees, and by all those state troopers who just love to raise their black arrest statistics in mandatory reporting states.
8.29.2008 12:03pm
Big Bill (mail):
Further regarding the "one drop" rule, my condolences to the more recent immigrants to the USA, those whose genealogies do not go back 300 years to a period when blacks and whites interbred freely.

There are compensating benefits for some of you, though. Take for example the Sephardic Jew, thrown out of Spain in 1492, who who asserted his Hispanicity in order to get a minority set-aside piece in some big FCC auction.

It might work with UCLA admissions.
8.29.2008 12:19pm
Daryl Herbert (www):
How is it that a member of the ADMISSIONS committee wasn't allowed to see admissions data?
8.29.2008 12:41pm
Big Bill (mail):
Lior:

"More importantly, why should Ivy League schools care about the ethnicity of their students? A University's mission should be to educate individual students, not ethnic tokens. Whoever is best prepared and has the best aptitude should get in."

I would beg to disagree. As long as one's ne plus ultra is a globalist economic meritocracy, perhaps you are right.

In the real world, however, it is taxpayers that give tax rebates and citizens who fund the colleges and universities. They do it to help their nation and pass on their culture, generally.

Harvard was chartered to "educate English and Indian youth" in Christian service (among other things). See http://hul.harvard.edu/huarc/charter.html.

Wisconsin was founded to serve the people of Wisconsin.
See http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/WisIdea/WisIdea.htm.

In Israel, your national homeland, Hebrew University fulfilled a long-held dream to be a Jewish University.
While it might be nice the scour the globe for the best and the brightest, many leading colleges and universities have different goals, and ones that are quite different from a global meritocracy.
8.29.2008 1:04pm
Lior:
Bill: I'm quite familiar with the admissions policy at the Hebrew University (where I obtained my B.Sc.). Jewishness is not an admission criterion -- the only criteria are grades on the national high-school matriculation exams and on the psychometric exam (an SAT-equivalent). Admission is very simple: applicants are assigned a composite score based on a publicly available formula (which depends on the program they are applying for). They are ranked in order of their scores, and the top N get admitted depending on available slots.

The only exception is in the case of the medical school, and is quite recent. "Personality tests" and interviews were added to the admission process -- with the express purpose of denying admission to some Arab students in favor of other Jewish students.

The University of Wisconsin was founded to serve the people of Wisconsin. Thus residents of Wisconsin are given preferences in admission and in the tutition rates. But what has this got to do with the different ethnicities of those residents?
8.29.2008 1:29pm
sbron:
It is amazing how massive an effort the U of C is putting into rejiggering admissions criteria, even to the extent of forcing major changes in the SAT. Despite the Left's professed interest in "root causes," little effort is however made to address the fundamental reasons for Latino and Black underrepresentation. Part of the problem is generated within education schools, which train teachers in a "Social Justice" curriculum instead of emphasizing teaching of academic skills. But larger problems such as the 70% Black illegitimacy rate, and lack of cultural and intellectual capital transmitted by Black and Latino parents to their children are considered unmentionable.

Until these root causes are addressed, trying to get the right racial balance to appease ethnocentric politicians via changing admissions criteria is doomed to failure.
8.29.2008 2:24pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
How come it's only blacks and Latinos who have character?
8.29.2008 3:01pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

An [Admissions Committee member] professor who said he suspects UCLA is cheating ... to illegally admit black students resigned, saying the university refused to provide him the data he needs to investigate his suspicions.

His request seems odd and creepy. If the Admissions Committee process warrants investigation, why should the responsibility be his and his alone? At this point, he's hardly impartial, because he would surely want to prove his point. Let the Dean appoint an investigation committee to get to the bottom of it.
8.29.2008 5:45pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

My point is that Asians and Indians are underrepresented in elite institutions compared to their merit.

In a mini-mall near me is an SAT cram school. They post the names of their students and the schools that they will attend on paper flowers. The names are almost all East Asian, with a few South Asians.

I don't see how having been "taught to the test" increases their individual merit. Further, kids whose parents spend money on things other than SAT cram school are at a disadvantage.
8.29.2008 5:50pm
BerkeleyBeetle:
If you read the report, he wasn't saying that the responsibility was "his and his alone." In fact, he was saying that, as part of the oversight committee, it was part of his (and every other member's) responsibility. His effort was shot down by a bloc in the committee which then selected an independent researcher they approved of, in order to avoid a "minority report" floating around. He argued that preventing oversight committee members from actually seeing the information was an odd way to create "consensus."

SKardner, given that the conversion to holistic review was openly advocated as a means to increase minority enrollment, I don't think it's particularly cynical to view the use of subjective criteria as a means to make race-based decisions. Also, since the university belongs to the citizens of California, and the state passed a constitutional amendment to avoid affirmative action, I don't think you can just shrug off criticism with "It's their admissions process. Not yours."
8.29.2008 6:39pm
Elliot123 (mail):
How does the university know the student wrote the essay himself? How do they know someone else didn't write it? Is the essay like a blue book test, completed in a fixed location at a fixed time, or is it simply mailed with the application?
8.30.2008 12:01am
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