September 22, 2011

"Not everyone on the UW-Madison campus is a fan of the university's 'holistic' admissions policy."

"That's the gist of a strongly worded email I received over the weekend from UW-Madison physics professor Marshall Onellion," writes Cap Times reporter Todd Finkelmeyer, somewhat mischaracterizing Onellion's point. But the email is reprinted in full — we can read it — and Finkelmeyer spoke by phone to Onellion and includes a quote:
"I don't actually object to any admissions policy as long as I know what it is.... Right now, I don't believe you or I know what the UW admissions policy is. If [UW-Madison Interim Chancellor] David Ward says [the Center for Equal Opportunity's] report is wrong in some way, then tell us what is wrong and tell us what the actual facts are. And then you and I and everybody else can form our individual opinions about what we agree and disagree with. But right now, we don't know what the facts are."
A lack of transparency is, of course, inherent in the process of performing the "holistic" style of admissions that the U.S. Supreme Court found constitutional in Grutter v. Bollinger. That's what Justice Ginsburg complained about in dissent in the companion case, Gratz v. Bollinger, where the majority rejected an insufficiently holistic form of admissions:
The stain of generations of racial oppression is still visible in our society... and the determination to hasten its removal remains vital.  One can reasonably anticipate, therefore, that colleges and universities will seek to maintain their minority enrollment–and the networks and opportunities thereby opened to minority graduates–whether or not they can do so in full candor through adoption of affirmative action plans of the kind here at issue. Without recourse to such plans, institutions of higher education may resort to camouflage. For example, schools may encourage applicants to write of their cultural traditions in the essays they submit, or to indicate whether English is their second language. Seeking to improve their chances for admission, applicants may highlight the minority group associations to which they belong, or the Hispanic surnames of their mothers or grandparents. In turn, teachers’ recommendations may emphasize who a student is as much as what he or she has accomplished.... If honesty is the best policy, surely Michigan’s accurately described, fully disclosed College affirmative action program is preferable to achieving similar numbers through winks, nods, and disguises.
Boldface added to make my point. The clarity the physics professor longs for is exactly what the Supreme Court's doctrine disincentivizes.

79 comments:

ndspinelli said...

It's akin to a used car salesman telling you, "This is a good car and a fair deal." Just give me the facts[or Carfax as it were] and I'll decide if it's fair or not. I do have some Joe Friday in me.

Fred4Pres said...

I believe there should be some flexibility on college admissions (a straight grade/SAT criteria should be primary but not the only factor to admissions). But what ever the criteria is it should be reasonably explained.

And if any institutions should be primarily objectively driven for admissions, it should be state supported institutions. And the need for full disclosure of its admission criteria is even higher.

traditionalguy said...

The hand is quicker than the eye.

Someone makes holistic decisions and that someone is NOT supposed to be a % based ethnic quota system.

But it might look like one if it is made transparent.

The CIA has its rules to make outsiders fools, and Wisconsin Admissions is following the CIA's lead here.

Don't ask, don't tell has many uses.

Seven Machos said...

Ginsburg is totally right insofar as it goes, until you get to the last paragraph. Affirmative action in public universities is unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. Period.

Further, her explanation fails utterly when you think about it in virtually any other context. Strict and intermediate scrutiny, for example. Would Ginsburg say that honesty is the best policy when a fire department wants to hire only white male firefighters?

Yes, Ruth. Indeed. The fire department should just be honest and up front about its desire for an all-male, all-white fire department. Then everything will be hunky dory. Right?

Ruth?

Shouting Thomas said...

Seven, the assumptions behind your statement about wanting an all white fire department are incorrect.

Whites keep scoring higher on the qualifying exams for entrance into fire department academies.

Whites don't dominate fire departments by reason of racial discrimination. They do so by merit.

Ann Althouse said...

@Seven Well, the point is that because of O'Connor's approach to moderation, we end up with something complicated in the middle. This is exactly what I was talking about last night with respect to the Establishment Clause. You could have a clear rule, either saying it's permitted or it's not permitted, but that isn't what we have, and the University is, I presume, trying to follow the law as articulated by the Supreme Court.

Now, perhaps litigation against the U of Wisc will lead to new Supreme Court case law and we will end up with a clear and simple rule against using race as a factor. (There's no serious potential for the clarity to tip in the opposite direction.) But that hasn't happened yet.

Seven Machos said...

Thomas -- If true, so what? The reasons why I want an all-white fire department matter almost not at all under strict scrutiny.

Look into the concept. Understand it. Then get back to me. Thanks.

ic said...

An inexperienced black male leftist trumps an experienced hard working white female leftist.

Seven Machos said...

Althouse -- I agree that the Supreme Court's line of cases on affirmative action in schools is absolutely awful. As I have said in threads on your totally awesome blog, bad law yields unsatisfactory results.

I think the Supreme Court admitted that its affirmative action decisions are mess in its dicta about how affirmative action should disappear in a couple decades. Reading between the lines, it was: yeah, this is an irreconcilable mess we've created. Maybe it'll just go away in awhile.

The obvious solution for these public schools intent on affirmative action is to simply reincorporate as something a little more private. But that would mean taking financial responsibility, anathema to university bureaucrats.

Seven Machos said...

P.S. -- To be clear, I do not want n all-white fire department. That was lazy writing.

Ann Althouse said...

"Althouse -- I agree that the Supreme Court's line of cases on affirmative action in schools is absolutely awful."

I didn't say it was absolutely awful. I should put up the pro-O'Connor part of my presentation from last night.

Her approach to law drives me crazy, but there is some good in it, and we don't appreciate it.

WineSlob said...

Diversity in the University is Perversity
Hatched in the Reverse-ery Nursery
Hole-istic Indeed
Let Freedom Recede
Now Adversity to Coerce-ity Is Just Cursory.

cubanbob said...

To cut to the chase its time to end affirmative action.
This country was founded on the rights and liberties of the individual, its time to get back to our American basics.

PatCA said...

I think UW is so upset about this because it's part and parcel of admissions policy everywhere. The whole secret garden is about to be exposed to the light of day.

Schools want victims or under-enrolled minorities. So if you're Caucasian or Asian, mention your Tourette's and you will have a better chance.

edutcher said...

Um..., sorry, Ruth, but, whether you believe, "The stain of generations of racial oppression is still visible in our society", or not, letting in a lot of unqualified people based solely on their skin color will not change the history of slavery or Jim Crow (or the Welfare Plantation).

This is about politics and making a lot of Lefties feel good.

MayBee said...

UW should look at its Education college. That's the place that produces the teachers who are producing less qualified minority students.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

...and the University is, I presume, trying to follow the law as articulated by the Supreme Court.

Maybe they should try following the law as articulated by the Constitution instead.

Terry said...

Even before Bollinger institutions that had aggressive affirmative action policies were not big on publicizing the details of how they worked.
I think that was because, especially in public & quasi-public institutions, it took more than a "little" tilt to achieve the results the administrators wanted.
I don't know why admissions policies that favor the children of alumni and donors aren't the source of as much grief as AA admissions policies.

Carol_Herman said...

The admision's policy is easy to know.

First, all you have to do is count up how many available beds there are on campus. This tells you how many students "could" bet admitted. And, if admissions doesn't fill all those beds, then someone in admissions gets fired.

Admissions directors go out to most of our high school campuses to sell admission to their school as cool. They bring brochures. And, they answer questions. And, they hope for customers.

Maybe, on those days when they're tasked to go to a school in some ghetto, their car breakd down? Or they do some schools by inviting them to a hotel (outside the ghetto), that has a large room. And, room service where some tasty shit could be offered. And, parking "validated."

It's just like flying an airplane.

You don't want to have the plane going up with empty seats on board.

And, sometimes, admissions will scrape the bottom of the barrel to see that the whole freshman class is filled up, with bodies in all the beds.

Kids, themselves, will drop out of a professor's class right away, if the material sales over their heads.

Pasadena City College is not fussy! You are a resident without a criminal record, you can be OLD ... like I was. At 50. When I just applied using a #2 pencil on one of their admissions forms.

You can't scare me with tests!

I graduated with honors.

But I saw the system. And, I saw that the system works.

Seven Machos said...

I don't know why admissions policies that favor the children of alumni and donors aren't the source of as much grief as AA admissions policies.

Because there is no constitutional issue with favoring people who give you money. It's only race, religion, gender, nationality, whether you are a bastard child, and a couple other things (I rest assured).

Most things aren't constitutional issues. Nine-year-old kids can't get into see Debbie Does Dallas. Yacht salespeople don't sell yachts to poor people. Not constitutional issues.

Roger Sweeny said...

Yes, the Court disincentivizes clarity. Because if they were clear, the decisions would have blown up a sh**storm.

Stripped to the essentials, the decisions said, you can discriminate as much as you want, as long as you are discriminating against people in groups that we think have too much, and as long as you don't let anyone see how you're doing it.

Saint Croix said...

Secrecy is inherent in corruption.

Of course, secrecy is not always evil. For instance, we have sex in private because that promotes intimacy. But in general we do things in secret because we do not want other people to know what we are doing. (Marriage is a public proclamation about what you are doing in private).

So to announce that you are racially discriminating is better than doing it in secret. And letting everybody see how you are racially discriminating is how you would act if you were unashamed.

But racial discrimination is embarrassing. And shameful. If it you do it out in the open--transparent--then the people getting special benefits are identified. Which they would not mind if this was all on the up-and-up. But the belief is that this would be stigmatizing.

"You don't belong here. You got special treatment. You are here not because of what you did, but because of who you are. I worked hard. You were born with a pigmentation."

This creates resentment. Workers always resent the ones who aren't working as hard.

We don't like welfare, either.

MayBee said...

Because there is no constitutional issue with favoring people who give you money. It's only race, religion, gender, nationality, whether you are a bastard child, and a couple other things (I rest assured).

Also, the school does have a legitimate interest in trying to discern which students will be successful at their university. Having parents who are donors or alums is a good indication the family/student is dedicated to the school and to education.

Trooper York said...

It is true that diveristy is the most important part of staffing a Fire Department.

I look foward to a 90lb Asian woman trying to carry me out of a burning building.

What could possibly be wrong with that?

Lucien said...

Ann: You actually used "disincentivizes"? It looks as ugly as it sounds.

I know it's a blog, but . . .

rhhardin said...

It's called a chemical calculation. Women use it.

Ann Althouse said...

"Maybe they should try following the law as articulated by the Constitution instead."

If they followed the interpretation that the people here believe is the correct one, it would be easy for opponents of affirmative action to litigate against us.

Trooper York said...

And why should a fireman have to know how to count and to math and do hard stuff like that there.

I mean if they rush into a building looking for ten people and they can't count and only come out with six.....well mistakes happen and our strenght is only in our diversity. Right?

Ignorance is Bliss said...

If they followed the interpretation that the people here believe is the correct one, it would be easy for opponents of affirmative action to litigate against us.

Maybe that says something about the correctness of their interpretation.

ricpic said...

I suppose as long as blacks fail to achieve at white levels it will mean the stains of past discrimination have not been wiped out and disparate impact suits will continue to be the order of the day. What a racket.

David said...

Just what I said in the earlier thread on this subject, though somewhat more directly.

Holistic = bullshit

Winks & nods = lies.

And lack of transparency is not just inherent in the process. It is the express purpose of the process.

A expensive bureaucracy designed to shelter lies.

Terry said...

I've looked at the history of the 14th (as a rank amateur) & how its meaning has been settled. I was surprised at how . . . widely it has been interpreted. At one time it was assumed to only address the voting rights of freed slaves, then their descendents, then virtually any disparate impact government activity has on ethnic minorities and now, according to the wishes of some, people who are perceived to favor certain sexual practices.
The real tragedy of Bollinger is that it uses the 14th to justify racial discrimination by the state when it serves state purposes. Liberals should not support this.

Oligonicella said...

Lucien --

Ann: You actually used "disincentivizes"? It looks as ugly as it sounds.

She didn't proof her grad student.

David said...

Althouse: "the University is, I presume, trying to follow the law as articulated by the Supreme Court."

A generous presumption and perhaps accurate in their own minds. But a legal standard that creates the incentive to delude others also has the potential for self delusion.

One flaw with the O'Connor approach is that it presumes a high level of integrity and moral insight on persons administering the process. But lack of integrity and moral insight is an essential element of discrimination.

The entire process is a mess. Ginsburg is correct. Call it what it is and then decide one way or another.

Remember this when you hear calls for "compromise" in the present debate on how to resolve our fiscal problems. Quite often compromise results in failure.

Oligonicella said...

Where the hell's Crack? The word "holistic" has been bandied about.

Ann Althouse said...

"Disincentivize" is an excellent word.

Lucien said...

"'Disincentivize'is an excellent word."

You meant "cromulent", right?

Sheez, next you'll be using "mentee" instead of "protege".

MikeDC said...

I'd like to call attention to the fact it's a physics professor writing this.

Anyone know why? Because in the internal battle for limited funding, having more students matters. So skewing the admissions process toward lower capability students will disproportionately hurt high-capability departments.

A couple hundred point point swing on the SAT, for instance, doesn't mean a student can't succeed at college, but it makes them more likely to go to the education, sociology, or English department and substantially less likely to go to the math, econ, physics or engineering departments.

Trooper York said...

Isn't a mentee one of those big seals that the old timey sailors used to try to fuck and claim they were mermaids?

Oligonicella said...

Ann Althouse --

"Disincentivize" is an excellent word.

So is discourage.

Seven Machos said...

The problem is that entirely too many of our society's minority kids go to crappy schools (run by well-meaning leftist who do an embarrassingly crappy job) and have crappy home environments. As a result, there are not enough minority kids (after the wealthy and qualified ones are taken by better private schools) to satisfy the number of slots at, say, the University of Wisconsin, that constitute the percentage of minority kids in the state. (The assumption being that the flagship state university's student population should reflect the state population as a whole in terms of skin color.)

That's all very tragic, but it's morally wrong and grossly unconstitutional under any reading of the 14th Amendment for a manifestly public entity to accept less qualified kids over more qualified kids because of skin color.

It really is that easy.

Carol_Herman said...

Here's a secret about the SAT's.

Harvard invented them, (way back when Blacks weren't admitted). But over-qualified Jews were admitted! This caused Harvard great distress.

Because they didn't want to be overwhelmed by a majority of Jewish students.

Today? This is probably a fear they have of all Indian. Or all Chinese students. But don't let me get ahead of my story.

Harvard feared it was letting in too many Jews. (While they were ONLY letting in the most qualified ones. And, the ones where poor families got together to send one of their own to college.)

So, you couldn't cure this problem by just raising the cost of tuition.

Instead, the Harvard-ites came up with SAT scores. And, that way they'd get to pick what they defined as the "brightest of the bright students." (Plus, some legacy admissions.)

Affirmative Action came along and finally let Harvard substitute some Black students for their Jews.

As to colleges ... if they just waited for "ideal candidates" ... they'd be like restaurants that waited on ONLY THIN PEOPLE! They wouldn't let in any fat people.

So take a random stab at a number. How long before such an exclusive restaurant would run out of customers?

Running out of customers means you're out of business.

Running out of enough food to serve? Means you have more customers than you can feed. But the restaurant is running at a profit.

If it wasn't for Ann. And, the reach of this blog into homes that have teenagers in them. The U of W, at Madison, would not even be put on most smart teenagers "apply" list.

Harvahd, alas, has not yet run into this problem.

Peter said...

“Holistic” is to contemporary college admissions as “state’s rights” was to segregationists during the civil rights era.

It is a camouflage, an obfuscation, and all-to-obvious attempt to hide what’s really being done.

It is, at the end of the day, it is a lie. It’s a lie because, just as surely as “state’s rights” was a cover for racial segregation, “holistic admissions” is a cover for racial quotas (aka “numerical goals”).

And, it’s the dishonesty that tells the story. For if the policies were defensible and constitutional, why wouldn’t they be transparent?

Terry said...

That is not really a secret, Carol_Herman.
I strongly suspect that there is no merit based scholastic test that can be used in admissions to achieve the racial mix that colleges would like to see.
Whatever test is devised, East Asians, whites, and Jews will outperform, as groups, Hispanics and blacks.
This is why the administrators would rather do their work in secrecy; they are brazenly choosing applicants based almost entirely on race.

Seven Machos said...

Whatever test is devised, East Asians, whites, and Jews will outperform, as groups, Hispanics and blacks.

And the racist goofballs rear their ugly heads. Here comes the hoary, stupid IQ arguments from the phrenologists in 3...2...1...

John said...

Just read an article the other day on higher education. It said that 90% of all universities were open admission.

That is, anyone with a HS degree or GED and some way to pay is automatically admitted. That sounded a bit high to me but not totally unbelievable.

When my kids were looking at schools in the early 90's, 50%+ of all 4 year schools were open admission.

Most of them still required a SAT, though.

What is so special about UW?

Other than Prof Althouse?

John Henry

John said...

Is it equally hard to get into all programs of the UW?

Is it harder to get into, say, the physics program than the education program?

Or is everyone evaluated for admittance on the same basis?

John Henry

Seven Machos said...

Or is everyone evaluated for admittance on the same basis?

I'm pretty sure getting into the university is a threshold thing. You may put yourself at an advantage or a disadvantage by expressing interest in certain programs, and I know that some schools within schools (e.g., art, dance) require a tryout, but for the most part it's a general admittance.

Peter said...

'ricpic' said, “I suppose as long as blacks fail to achieve at white levels it will mean the stains of past discrimination have not been wiped out and disparate impact suits will continue to be the order of the day.”

But it’s not just black-vs-white. It’s also African-born black vs. blacks born in the USA; it’s various subsets of “Asian” vs. others; it’s Jews vs. gentiles. Whatever breakdown of race and ethnicity you come up with, you’re sure to see statistically significant differences in outcomes.

And so, the logic of Affirmative Action leads inexorably toward a system where the only safe harbor against disparate impact is a system that produces proportional representation. And from which there is no exit strategy, because there is no exit.

Seven Machos said...

Peter -- Wait'll the racist IQ phrenologists start preaching to you about the differences between Ashkenazi Jews and other Jews, and certain, special kinds of East Asians. It's coming. I can feel it.

Peter said...

‘Carol Herman’ wrote : “Harvard invented them, (way back when Blacks weren't admitted). But over-qualified Jews were admitted! This caused Harvard great distress.”

Actually, Harvard (and the rest of the Ivies) solved the “too many Jews” problem by deciding that they wanted a student body with “geographic diversity.” As in, not too many non-minorities from the New York City metro area.

William said...

There used to be a quota system at medical schools that was used to exclude Jews. This quota system had the paradoxical effect of lessening prejudice against Jewish doctors. Among my parents' generation, the inside skinny was that Jews were better doctors. Given the higher hurdles they had to overcome, this was probably the objective truth at the time......The same paradox now exists with affirmative action. The net result of inclusive recruitment is supposed to lower prejudices, but it is working to increase suspicion and distrust..... I have had several black physicians. At the back of my mind was the thought that maybe these guys were not at the top of their class.....I think there is such a thing as racism and prejudice. However much he exploits it, it's not a figment of Jesse Jackson's imagination. I don't have a major problem with a black kid being given a leg up. If, however, the leg up puts that kid in a position for which he is manifestly unqualified and my life hangs in the balance, I have a problem with it.....I was treated for allergies by a black physician. She was a nice lady, and I have absolutely no complaints about the care I received. But there were those thoughts at the back of my mind.

Terry said...

John-
According to the admissions office of UW Madison, they offer open enrollment for freshmen but reject about half of the applicants:

Admit: In an average year, approximately 50-55 percent of our freshman applicants are admitted.
Deny: Students who are not competitive for admission or who fail to meet our application deadlines are denied admission.

http://www.admissions.wisc.edu/freshman/decisions.php

The admissions office assures prospective Badgers that their application will be thoroughly evaluated, but doesn't quite specify the evaluation criteria. What precisely does it mean to be "not competitive for admission"?

roesch-voltaire said...

Ah William, I know about those thoughts in the back of the mind on rating folks. I have a white doctor in residence who studied at Nebraska-- replaced the Asian who came from Harvard, and to be honest I always have my doubts about his educational qualifications-- the one from Nebraska that is, but I think it a good thing that he was admitted to the UW medical school.

John said...

One of the problems caused by AA is that it makes blacks a commodity in a sense.

The #1 tier U needs to get blacks in so takes blacks who may be well qualified for a #2 tier U but are marginal for them.

The #2 U needs blacks but it's natural market has been snarfled up by the #1 schools so they get kids who would normally go to a #3 and so on.

The end result is that blacks, to a much greater extent than others, are less qualified for the schools they are in than many of their classmates. COnsequently they have to struggle harder and drop out at a much higher rate than otherwise.

The black kid in the #1 school may have been OK in a #2 but not be able to cut it at #1.

The real tragedy is how many blacks fail to complete their undergrad degrees because they were mismatched with the school.

Completion rate is about 42% for Blacks vs 65% for Whites.

It is an alarming rate that most Us don't like to disclose.

John Henry

John said...

According to the admissions office of UW Madison, they offer open enrollment for freshmen but reject about half of the applicants:

Terry,

that makes absolutely no sense at all. "Open admissions" means that anyone with a HS/GED diploma is admitted. It means that anyone with a HS/GED can't be rejected.

What are they smoking at the admissions office?

John Henry

Terry said...

The complaint from Chavez is directed only at UW undergrad & law school admissions.
Why are undergrad admissions at UW so highly sought after? Is a UW grad given a leg up on UW law school admission?

Terry said...

Yes, John, I think that "open application" would be a better term.
I've been out of the college deal for some time. I would think that if you got all or most of your general ed requirement from a community college, with a decent GPA, your admittance to UW for a BA or BS would be assured.
At the last "open admissions" public university I attended, seats were rationed by making the enrollment process difficult if you already had a job -- you had to physically be on campus during office hours to enroll.

John M Auston said...

Here's a suggestion for a simple fairness test: repeatability.

Given the exact same group of applicants, by applying the rules and 'considered factors' for admissions points, you should be able to get almost exactly the same group of accepted student 'winners's, whether the same person is starting over with the analysis step, or, better, two or more different people are processing from the same applicant pool, but using the same 'rules'.

If that is NOT the case, then we would have every right to say that the 'rules' are too arbitrary, and need to be made much less so.

And if the same resulting group IS selected time after time, then we should be able to see and comment on the 'formula' used.

Carol_Herman said...

Who showed up at yesterday's meeting?

Col Mustard said...

I look foward to a 90lb Asian woman trying to carry me out of a burning building.

What could possibly be wrong with that?


Nothing. She would use reason, speed, agility and leverage to catapult you out the window. Elementary. Works best if you're on the ground floor, of course.

Carol_Herman said...

First of all, ALL schools choose the applicants that can pay. (Or have families willing to fork over a lot of dough!) The added bonus, at first, is that they look for extremely intelligent students ... who are well rounded enough ... so that they got along in high school.

For this requirement to be met, kids have to go to 3 high school teachers and ask them for letters of recommendation.

Did you know there are teachers who love their work? And, who fall in love with their kids?

Carol_Herman said...

Maybe, anecdotal stories don't work?

But my Sometimes, a kid can get real guidance.

(My white cousin taught high school science in Montebello for many, many years.) Yes, her students came from the Mexican ghetto that surrounds that particular high school.

To foster a student she grew to love, she'd give him (or her) an "extra" textbook. So they could have it at home for homework. While not getting banged up by gang members, who have no respect for education at all.

Do you know how many college graduations she's been invited to? How many kids stayed in touch EACH AND EVERY YEAR?

Don't give me this bullshit that it's the college administrators who are "plucking" students to attend their schools!

Attendance comes through other channels.

What school was my cousin's favorite? UC Davis! Why? Because that's the school she (and her sister), both attended.

My cousin also told me that college can be such a bear ... that at least half the students "selected" WILL FAIL!

They fail as freshman!

And, they're gonna need herculean intervention to continue towards graduation.

Some kids just change schools.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

John M Auston,

Here's a suggestion for a simple fairness test: repeatability.

Funny. I'd go in the exact opposite direction: determine your objective (grades/tests) "floor," then see how many seats you have available, and admit by lot. By your own (I mean the school's, not yours personally) definition, every student in the pool is "qualified"; almost everyone concedes that there's no agreed-upon way to determine which applicant within the pool is worthier than the next. So make it chance.

At least it'll guarantee that the admitted students reflect, statistically, the race/class/gender/whatever else you like profile of the applicants you deemed qualified to study at your school.

The major problem is that, finding themselves officially and publicly not given an upward nudge, students from some of these groups might either not apply or, if admitted, not accept. And go to the private competition. Well, and why not? I do not believe that anyone is seriously interested in "diversity" except as a mechanism. Else we'd have people trying to quantify its effects, and people wanting more foreign students at all levels, rather than fretting that such a large fraction of the black population at our top universities was born abroad.

wv: comperse. A slightly-off Spanish reflexive verb meaning "to buy oneself"?

Carol_Herman said...

Sandra Day O'Connor is in a class by herself!

First of all she took off Rehnquist's balls. And, wore them like they were her earrings.

SHE CONTROLLED FROM HER SEAT!

Rehnquist's court was pretty much divided. And, Sandra Day O'Connor decided to play "THE FIFTH VOTE"

ALWAYS!

In exchange for her vote, each side learned she'd get to write the opinion. (And, sometimes, she even got another justice to add their vote) In the worst case? There was Rehnquist all alone!

Rehnquist couldn't even assign tax cases!

Anthony Kennedy has tried to follow in O'Connor's footsteps. He doesn't even come close!

Imagine being the first woman to serve on America's Supreme Court ... and to OWN that court!

How did she do it?

By her excellent use of vocabulary!

Look what she could do with "forks!"

Look what she could do with "plastic reindeer!"

Sandra Day O'Connor, all by herself, redesigned America's malls! Where the Christmas Season is their biggest display mode.

She still has more clout than Bing Crosby.

Ann Althouse said...

"Sandra Day O'Connor, all by herself, redesigned America's malls! Where the Christmas Season is their biggest display mode."

You mean the govt-run malls?

Rabel said...

Seems to me that UW's diversity outreach program should be considered a failure.

6.3 percent of Wisconsin's citizens are African-American.
Yet in 2011 only 2.7 percent of freshman enrollees at Wisconsin's flagship university are African-American. Exclude the Black athletes and the percentage would be much worse.

Demographically equal representation should be the goal of any Afirmative Action program. Recruitment is the key, not admissions policy.

Sifting and winnowing, indeed.
The racist bastards in the administration obviously have a minimum number which they feel will give them cover in the academic community without soiling their pristine campus with "those people."

The CEO controversy must set their pasty white legs a-tingling.

Terry said...

6.3 percent of Wisconsin's citizens are African-American.
Yet in 2011 only 2.7 percent of freshman enrollees at Wisconsin's flagship university are African-American.

How many of that 6.3% completed high school or obtained a GED?
The pool of citizens who are even minimally prepared for college is not distributed evenly throughout the population.
It's a terrible problem. I think that programs which guarentee places in the public university system to a certain proportion of public school graduates are more acceptable to citizens than racial quotas. I believe that CA and TX have systems like this.
But what if, say, the top 25% of public high school graduates are overwhelmingly white or asian?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Carol_Herman,

Please, don't send me images like Justice O'Connor wearing Justice Rehnquist's testicles as earrings, while "controlling from her seat." That one is going to be haunting my dreams.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Rabel,

Demographically equal representation should be the goal of any Affirmative Action program.

You think? How many Asian-Americans and Jews are you willing to cut off from elite education because there are just too many who are just too good? Are you demographically representing the state, or the country, or the world? If the former two, do you allow foreign citizens at all?

If the last -- well, you have quite the project in front of you; we've got about, what, a bit over a twentieth of the world's population in this country. You wanna be "representative," you start importing students. Big time. I mean, the population of sub-Saharan Africa alone is, what, more than twice that of the entire US, or something like 22 times that of the African-American population. Throw in a billion-plus Chinese, a near-billion Indians ... and I'm not even counting the Americas below the Rio Grande here.

wv: traphoo.

Rabel said...

Terry,

Wisconsin had from 5 to 7k Black public high school graduates in 2011 depending on which estimate you use. Add in private school and out-of-staters and they had a more than ample pool to find the mere 210 additional Black enrollees they would need to match Wisconsin's demographic profile. They had 5,828 enrollees total.

My point is that with a valid recruitment process they could meet that goal easily but they obviously, to me, don't want to.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Rabel,

Wisconsin had from 5 to 7k Black public high school graduates in 2011 depending on which estimate you use.

That's an awfully wide range of "estimates" for such small numbers. Can't anyone count? Or are some people reluctant to make racial classifications official? (I'm with them there.)

Anyway, I repeat: Just specify your minimum academic criteria, race/class/gender/what-have-you unspecified, do all your admissions by lot, and you'll have a perfect statistical mirror of the applicants who met the academic criteria you yourselves specified.

wv: komnfu. Not for the first time, I suspect Blogger is psychic.

Rabel said...

Michelle,

Read again and you'll see that I didn't say that I supported Affirmative Action.

What I do say is that if Affirmative Action and diversity are to be the hallmarks of your institution, then there is no good excuse for African-Americans to be so grossly underrepresented at UW. The math doesn't work.

I can see only see two reasons for that underrepresentation - incompetence or racism.

And since the administration is flush with PhD's we know, don't we, that it can't be incompetence.
Racism, on the other hand, is universal per its broader definitions.

Terry said...

Rabel, the question I was considering was whether or not Wisconsin's admission of black students was equitable when compared to the actual pool of blacks meeting the minimum requirement for admission to Wisconsin's public university system.
According to this: http://www.all4ed.org/files/Wisconsin_wc.pdf, blacks in WI public schools graduate at the rate of 57% of white students. Ignoring, for the moment, those black students who obtain a GED, it would seem that black admissions into WI public universities are pretty close to being representative of those in the general population who have high school diplomas.
If WI state university administration went out of its way to enroll the 210 black students that would make black freshman numerically representative to blacks in the overall WI population you would have the odd result that blacks as a group were the least likely to graduate from WI public high schools, but those who did graduate were far more likely to attend WI public colleges than the general population.

hawkeyedjb said...

Chancellor Ward states that "We know that enrolling students of all cultures and backgrounds improves the learning environment at UW-Madison and prepares everyone to be competitive in an increasingly multicultural world."

In these discussions, that point (or a similar one) is always made, and always presented as fact. Does anyone know the basis for that statement? Is there any factual information, any objective study we can read that would support that conclusion? Because it is a conclusion, not a fact. Prof. Althouse, are you aware of anything that would support putting the phrase "We know" in front of that statement?

Rabel said...

Terry,

You wrote:
"If WI state university administration went out of its way to enroll the 210 black students that would make black freshman numerically representative to blacks in the overall WI population you would have the odd result that blacks as a group were the least likely to graduate from WI public high schools, but those who did graduate were far more likely to attend WI public colleges than the general population."

Yes, you would get that effect. And in doing so you would meet one of the primary goals of Affirmative Action which is to counter the lingering effects of historical discrimination.

UW is only meeting this goal a little less than half way.

Terry said...

Rabel-
Why not just hand college degrees to blacks when they reach the 6th grade?
Because it would devalue the degree for blacks.
I think that I have discovered Chancellor Ward's weasel words in the quote from hawkeyedjb:
"We know that enrolling students of all cultures and backgrounds improves the learning environment at UW-Madison and prepares everyone to be competitive in an increasingly multicultural world."
Enrolling students, not graduating students. The minorities are there to enhance the educational environment of the white students, who are much more likely to graduate than minority students.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Rabel,

What you said was that

Demographically equal representation should be the goal of any Affirmative Action program.

Assuming you are referring just to WI, that ought to mean that the fraction of Black students ought to be the same as it is in WI; that the fraction of white students, ditto; that the fraction of Hispanic students, ditto; that the fraction of Asian-American students, ditto; that the fraction of Native American students, ditto.

So you don't get to limit your proposal to Black students; you have to apply it to all races. Which puts you, incidentally, in the disagreeable position of defining races. "Demographically equal representation" means that if white students are being outperformed by Asian-American students, you're bound to discriminate against the latter, to keep the demographics right. "Demographically equal representation" also means that if girls are systematically outperforming boys, you have to discriminate against the girls.

I can't see anything at all to be said for such a system. It harms those who have historically been harmed by the US (like Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Laotian immigrants); it benefits some who haven't been (like recent Central and South American immigrants, and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa); and it puts us in the position of establishing racial categories in a manner that ought to have disappeared at least a century ago.

Terry said...

Michelle Dulak Thomson, Affirmative Action as Rabel describes its purpose is illegal.
Grutter vs. Bollinger says that the goal has to be a diverse student body, not "countering the lingering effects of historical discrimination", or achieving "Demographically equal representation".