Race-Based Admissions at UNC

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is under fire and in the courts over its fundamentally racist admissions policy.  Plaintiffs are arguing that UNC violates Supreme Court rulings by giving too much weight to applicants’ race. The problem, though, is that any weight to race is too much, is fundamentally racist.  The Supreme Court’s rulings don’t go far enough to bar this behavior.  As things stand, though, the plaintiffs have a case IMNSHO.

UNC admissions readers frequently highlight the applicant’s race, citing one reader’s comment that even with an ACT score of 26, they should “give these brown babies a shot at these merit $$.” Another reader wrote, “Stellar academics for a Native Amer/African Amer kid,” the plaintiffs said.
Steve Farmer, the university’s vice provost for enrollment and undergraduate admissions, said in response: “Language in this exchange does not reflect Carolina’s values or our admissions process.”

Farmer is being disingenuous. The language clearly reflects both UNC’s values—emphasizing race as they do—and that language equally clearly reflects the fact that UNC does use race emphatically in its admissions process. The notes are right there on the applicants’ forms.

UNC says it has studied race-neutral approaches to admission for many years….

The only race-neutral approach possible for admission—or for any other purpose anywhere—is to not consider race at all. Any inclusion of race (or gender, or…), even as a “plus” factor, necessarily segregates in favor of one group at the direct expense of another.

If UNC truly wanted diversity, it would achieve it by admitting the best students regardless of race, or ethnicity, or gender.  The resulting student population would be a microcosm of the underlying population from which it was drawn.

If that didn’t produce a diversity reflecting the more general population, the correction would not be to play race games with high school graduates, it would be to commit university personnel and resources to improving the K-12 education so those high school grads would more closely reflect the underlying demographics.  And to press other universities and colleges to do the same.

But that would take actual work and dirty hands, not virtue signaling.

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