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UCLA's Short Response to Prof. Groseclose's Allegations:

Here it is; as I read it, it doesn't really respond to Prof. Groseclose's concerns (which he discusses in more detail here):

UCLA's admissions policies and practices were developed to scrupulously adhere to state law and University of California regulations. The campus remains committed to the highest ethical standards and to openness and transparency in establishing and maintaining admissions policies in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

The admissions process has many safeguards to ensure fairness to all applicants and compliance with state law. For example, approximately 55,000 applications are distributed randomly to more than 160 trained readers, and there is no way for a reader to know who else is reviewing the same applications. Two trained readers score each application, and if one score is inconsistent with another, the application is reviewed by a senior reader.

Nevertheless, UCLA several weeks ago initiated a comprehensive study to analyze the effect of the holistic review admissions process and ensure its continued consistency with state law. Funding has already been approved and a researcher selected to conduct the study. To ensure fairness, the review is being conducted by an independent researcher for the Academic Senate's admissions policy--setting body. The concerns expressed by Professor Timothy Groseclose will be addressed in the study.

UCLA stringently follows state and federal law and university policy protecting the privacy of student applicants and governing the release of personally identifiable information. UCLA's admissions team has offered to work with Professor Groseclose to provide data meaningful for use in his own analysis — within the constraints of privacy laws but going well beyond what would be required by the California Public Records Act. It is disappointing that Professor Groseclose has decided not to work with staff to arrive at a solution.

Background on the holistic review admissions process

Beginning with the fall 2007 freshman class, the UCLA faculty adopted the "holistic" process — which has been in use at UC Berkeley for many years and also is used at Ivy League schools and at most highly selective institutions — in which applicants are assessed in terms of the full range of their academic and personal achievements, viewed in the context of the opportunities and challenges each has faced.

The UCLA Academic Senate made the change because the faculty believed a more individualized and qualitative assessment of each applicant's entire application would be fair and would better achieve the UC Regents' goal of comprehensive review.

Smokey:
UCLA's admissions policies and practices were developed to scrupulously adhere to state law and University of California regulations... UCLA stringently follows state and federal law...
How is that different from adhering to state law and UC regulations? Does adding "scrupulously" and "stringently" make them innocent in their "holistic" process?

Did they ever hear of protesting too much?
8.29.2008 11:54pm
Psalm91 (mail):
Why is this important to anyone other than Smokey?
8.30.2008 12:11am
EH (mail):
I have a feeling this is going to turn out to be some kind of around-the-bend anti-Affirmative Action case...
8.30.2008 12:27am
LTEC (mail) (www):
How could a "holistic" practice possibly fail to adhere to any law or regulation? After all, the process is by definition completely unspecified and completely unspecifiable. If only the Jim Crow south had thought of this holistic thing, it could have been saved a lot of grief.
8.30.2008 12:33am
neurodoc:
Psalm91: "Why is this important to anyone other than Smokey?"

Would you elaborate, so we might understand the thrust of your question. Do you think Professor Groseclose's concerns about the integrity of the admissions process are most likely unwarranted, or you don't care whether they are warranted or not? Did you prefer the University of Michigan's grid for ranking applicants, which when finally revealed in the course of litigation could be seen to be objectively and unabashedly biased, as opposed to less unequivocally biased "holistic" approaches?

EH: "I have a feeling this is going to turn out to be some kind of around-the-bend anti-Affirmative Action case..."

What might be the elements of an "around-the-bend anti-Affirmative Action case..."? Does "around-the-bend" imply that you either do not believe that UCLA would not be operating in full compliance with Proposition 209; or that you don't care one way or the other if UCLA is or isn't in compliance with this particular state law; or that you oppose Proposition 209 and would happy to see it subverted, if not frankly breached? Or is your point something altogether different?
8.30.2008 2:26am
Tony Tutins (mail):
This investigation appears to address Professor Groseclose's concerns, while remaining "scrupulously" impartial. No evaluation conducted by Professor Groseclose, the sole opponent of holistic admissions, could meet this test.

For those who might think a holistic application review is prima facie absurd, realize that California bar exam essays and performance tests are graded holistically. And many failed students would agree that the approach is absurd.
8.30.2008 3:58pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
What is your response to Prof. Groseclose's explanation of why he thinks the investigation by the university-appointed investigator is an inadequate solution?
8.30.2008 5:47pm
BerkeleyBeetle:
His concerns were that the intense pressure to admit more black students the first year of holistic review led to consideration of race. The investigation will not look at that year. I don't see how it could address his concerns.
8.30.2008 5:58pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

What is your response to Prof. Groseclose's explanation of why he thinks the investigation by the university-appointed investigator is an inadequate solution?

He raises a couple good issues. Now I wonder if UCLA does have something to hide. But their independent expert should include his objections in the analysis, as far as it is reasonable.

I would not ignore the 2007 data. But I would not compare single years because of possible unknown confounding factors. Also, the start-up year of a new policy is always confusing. Rather than jsut get the "impulse response," to me it would make sense to compare three non-holistic years with three holistic years.

But I don't know why he would need the identities of the readers. They assumed their decisions would be kept confidential, or at least not scrutinized in detail. But I see no problem with coding the data as "Reader A," etc. to look for consistency. If he thought certain characteristics of each grader might be significant, those could be extracted and tabulated. If readers favor their own nationality or gender, that would be good to know.
8.30.2008 8:44pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
I'm sure there's lots of room for argument about exactly how the review process should be done. But I'm hoping that given your concessions about his "couple good issues" -- plus his concern that the data should be made available to more than just one researcher, so that others can make sure the analysis is sound -- you'll retract the following statement that you made in the other thread:

"It would look more legitimate if Prof. Groseclose did not look like a lone crank: Lone committee member who opposes holistic admissions wants application data so that he can analyze it to prove that it violates Prop. 209. When committee majority/university counterproposes independent review, lone committee member takes his ball and goes home."
8.30.2008 10:36pm