The L.A .Times on Prof. Groseclose's Allegations of Possible Malfeasance in UCLA Admissions:

Seemingly nothing so far (as of 7:47 pm Pacific), though Yahoo! News reports the story has been covered not just by the Orange County Register (the newspaper that broke the story), but by the AP and — apparently mostly based on the AP story — by the sites of the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, the Fresno Bee, the Las Vegas Sun, and the local CBS and NBC affiliates.

Maybe I'm spoiled by the 24-hour news cycle, but I would think that the Times would at least run the AP story on its site, while it's waiting to either print the story or produce its own — even recognizing that there's a certain other story out in the news today.

UPDATE: The L.A. Times now has a story, which apparently appeared this (Saturday) morning.

LM (mail):
I've heard it a couple of times on NPR, though I didn't focus on whether it was NPR news or the local (KPCC - Pasadena) affiliate.
8.30.2008 12:08am
Comprehensive review was originally designed in 1999-2000 to admit more Latino students, under pressure from then Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante and the Latino caucus in the state legislature. But comprehensive review gave points for languages other than English spoken in the home, parents who were immigrants, and participation in outreach programs like Puente. As a result, Black applicants found themselves at a disadvantage under the new system, and UCLA was pressured to re-revise comprehensive review into the holistic system cited. Thus, this is a Latino versus Black issue, and the Los Angeles Times has been reluctant to cover such conflicts, e.g. the murder of Jamiel Shaw and targeting of Blacks by Latino gangs.

Whites were only 33 percent of UCLA 2007 admits, and thus the stereotype of a "Lily White" campus trying to keep out hard-working "minorities" no longer applies. The new Latino vs. Black vs. Asian tensions in admissions cannot be parsed by the simplistic "white privilege and racismm" worldview of the LA Times.
8.30.2008 2:06am
Modus Ponens:
Keep pushing the non-story, Prof., and someone is bound to pick it up sooner or later.

Hopefully later.
8.30.2008 8:32am
wb (mail):
I am afraid that sbron has hit the nail squarely on the head.

Moreover, the dishonesty at the highest levels in the UC system have been a hallmark of the corrupt Dynes regime, now thankfully ened.
8.30.2008 10:13am
Eugene Volokh (www):
I'd think that if UCLA is indeed violating the California Constitution, that would be a pretty legitimate story -- and that a UCLA admissions official is accusing it of likely doing it, and then apparently trying to cover it up, would likewise be a pretty legitimate story. What am I missing here?
8.30.2008 2:36pm
The UC system has effectively been violating Prop. 209 since its inception. Not only has admissions continued to be race-based, but faculty hiring as well. Here is an example of a UC program that bypasses open search procedures by giving postdocs selected on a race/gender basis preferential consideration for faculty slots
8.30.2008 2:56pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I agree with Professor Volokh. This is a big story. I am not a big fan of affirmative action that takes the form of racial preferences myself, but I would think that even honest supporters of affirmative action would admit that Proposition 209 is meant to prohibit giving minorities preferences in the admissions process. (We've had debates here about things like minority outreach programs, but nobody doubts that if somebody's giving an actual preference in the admissions process to a minority, that's barred by Prop. 209.) If this is what this guy was doing, he was clearly violating the law and the expressed will of the California people.

The reality is, affirmative action is, whatever one wants to say about it, quite popular among many academics and especially many college admissions offices and administrations. So it is just not all that surprising that there would be people who would want to undermine Prop. 209. But the law is the law.
8.30.2008 3:28pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

UCLA admissions official is accusing it of likely doing it, and then apparently trying to cover it up, would likewise be a pretty legitimate story.

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 4:09pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Tony Tutins: Any thoughts on Prof. Groseclose's explanation for his actions? On the reasons he gives for believing that there was indeed misbehavior? On the reasons he gives for being skeptical of the institutionally proposed review (which was triggered by his complaints, but which he argues would be inadequate)? On the supporting letters from other (though nonvoting) committee members who are also skeptical of the way UCLA has responded to this?

More broadly, any justification for the word "crank"? Or is it the case that whenever one professor on a committee of six -- a professor who had been chosen by the administration in the first place -- claims to be blowing the whistle on possible university malfeasance, and is unhappy with the university's decision to investigate the matter through its chosen investigator (as best I can tell, without releasing the relevant data to any other investigators), that professor must be a "crank"?
8.30.2008 5:23pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

any justification for the word "crank"

I'm talking the appearance of crankdom: The outsider, the one who everyone else is out of step with, the possessor of the truth who is yet unable to persuade one other person of the correctness of his position. These are classic traits of the crank.

Further, the one who believes that no one else can do as good a job of analysis as he can, or who distrusts that the remainder of the committee will hire someone honest and fair. These all add up to the appearance of being a crank.

I don't think the whistleblower should be the evaluator, no matter how competent the whistleblower is at evaluation, because he has an interest in making the results come out a certain way. Pick someone without skin in the game.
8.30.2008 8:26pm
Except this "crank" has convinced others of the correctness of his position, and received support from members of the committee.

There's no reason for the decision to be who "the" evaluator is. Indeed, the whole point of oversight is to have others keeping an eye on things. He's made it abundantly clear that he isn't demanding to be the only evaluator.
8.30.2008 8:46pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Tony Tutins: It seems to me that Prof. Groseclose has persuaded some people at least of the correctness of his view that something is wrong with the UCLA process, no?

Also, can you answer my other questions, please? I recall that Prof. Groseclose actually had an explanation for why he didn't like the UCLA-planned evaluation by the UCLA-chosen evaluator -- and it wasn't "it's got to me or no-one else." Do you have a response to that explanation?
8.30.2008 9:16pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
In another thread on this topic, Prof. V.asks:[I hope] you'll retract the following statement that you made in the other thread:

Prof. V., I would like to retract it. But it's not so much the substance of Prof. Groseclose's complaint as the way he presents it. While careful reading reveals the merit of his complaint, most people will get no further than the summary. His tone there is offputting and unpersuasive. He could profitably rewrite it.

Presumption of Malice

Cranks jump to conclusions, presuming malice on the part of their adversary when the same result could be caused without any evil intent.

In the first sentence of his summary, he presumed malice on the part of the admissions evaluators, because he characterized the difference in admissions by race as "cheating," "malfeasance," and even "illegal activity," without acknowledging the possibility of other reasons for the discrepancy. Even if the holistic process were biased, for example, the bias could be wholly unconscious.

He goes on to presume evil intent on the part of "high ranking officials" as well as "a controlling block of his committee" by stating they are engaged in "a coverup," when they could have simply considered Prof. Groseclose's allegations to lack merit.

Lone wolf approach

Cranks are egocentric. They believe that it is they against the world, which is out to get them.

Although later he mentions suggesting other researchers to examine the data, in the summary -- which is as far as most busy people will get -- it's all about him: "Since April, I have made several requests [for data]... I wanted to investigate [his] suspicions... my requests have been denied" In the last paragraph, "I cannot conduct the duties... I have been charged... I am resigning, in protest"

It is Groseclose against the world, because "high ranking officials" as well as "a controlling block of his committee" are preventing me [and unspecified others] from obtaining these data."

Finally, he sounds more pouting than principled when he resigns because he "cannot carry out his duties" as member of the committee. Statistical analysis of admissions data seems an unlikely part of the duties of a committee member.

Ax to Grind

Cranks have a pet notion to defend at every opportunity.

Prof. Groseclose was the sole committee member to oppose holistic grading. Therefore, as the other committee members are motivated to demonstrate its success, Prof. Groseclose is motivated to demonstrate its failure.


But, if one reads the entire document carefully, although he continues to demand access to the data for his own analysis, he raises the valid point that any analysis must include the holistic startup year of 2007. Further, to achieve transparency, and to avoid allegations of bias from either side, any analysis plan should be reviewed by Prof. Groseclose, who should note his objections and recommendations. These should be incorporated as far as the independent investigator agrees is reasonable, with valid reasons given for any recommendation not incorporated.
9.1.2008 3:19am
Bill in Pasadena (mail):
Note that he also alleges potential religious discrimination. I'm guessing that would be against normally very high numbers of Jewish students.
9.3.2008 4:27pm