April 8, 2014

Still waiting for those affirmative action lawsuits:

The Daily Cardinal reports:
The University of Wisconsin-Madison could face legal action against its 'holistic' admissions policy from Project on Fair Representation, the Virginia-based legal group behind the June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court case, Fisher vs. University of Texas-Austin.

POFR announced Monday it is seeking applicants that believe they were rejected admission to UW-Madison because of their race to join potential legal action against the university. The group started similar campaigns to UWnotfair.org at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Harvard University....

POFR Director Edward Blum said the group targets universities with admissions policies that classify applicants based on race and then treat people differently based on race.
But read Adam Liptak's NYT article about Blum, "Unofficial Enforcer of Ruling on Race in College Admissions." Liptak observes that when the Fisher case came out last year, Blum seemed to threaten litigation (by saying "Those universities that continue using race-based affirmative action will likely find themselves embroiled in costly and polarizing litigation"). But we still haven't see these lawsuits. Why? Blum revealed to Liptak that "it is hard to find plaintiffs willing to call attention to having been rejected by a prestigious institution, to blame that rejection on race discrimination and to persevere through years of litigation."
“It’s understandable that most teenagers will want to avoid this scrutiny,” Mr. Blum said, “especially if their character and motives may be besmirched by others.”

But Mr. Blum does not give up easily. He has started a series of websites seeking plaintiffs.

“Were you denied admission to the University of North Carolina?” one asks. “It may be because you’re the wrong race.”

The site features a picture of a student who appears to be Asian-American. There is a form to fill out and a bit of hand holding. Mr. Blum’s group, the Project on Fair Representation, “covers all expenses,” the site says. “In every similar case during the last 12 years or so, no individual was required to appear or testify in any court or talk to the media.”
There's also one of these sites referring to the University of Wisconsin—Madison, which seems kind of dumb — unless the sites are just for show — because POFR is looking for applicants who were denied admission. The students who are here got in. I think they should search for prospective plaintiffs at branches of the university that Wisconsin in-staters attend when they don't get into Madison — University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. But I suspect that finding a plaintiff is not the real purpose of these websites, which have obviously already worked to get publicity for the organization and presumably needs to raise money.

And I suspect that students who don't get into the school they wanted look at their own self-interest and begin their education somewhere else, which seems to make a lot more sense than lending your name to an affirmative action lawsuit... unless fighting affirmative action is your mission in life.

CORRECTION: I've rewritten the second-to-the-last paragraph, which previously made it seem as though POFR's website was somehow located in Madison and not visible elsewhere, which obviously isn't how websites work.

29 comments:

harkin said...

It makes a world of difference to rephrase it as:

"unless fighting discrimination is your mission in life".

Makes one sound much less the bigot than the original, don't ya think?

The msm uses this subtlety on a daily basis to color (pun intended) the subject.

EDH said...

And I suspect that students who don't get into the school they wanted look at their own self-interest and begin their education somewhere else, which seems to make a lot more sense than lending your name to an affirmative action lawsuit... unless fighting affirmative action is your mission in life.

And, let's face it, there are still a hell of a lot more career opportunities pleasing the bureaucratic apparatus that perpetuates racial discrimination through "affirmative action" than opposing it on principle.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Ann-- Maybe I'm missing something, but since it's a website, wouldn't it be visible EVERYWHERE in Wisconsin? And if they're advertising it, maybe they think some of the kids who got in have close friends who did not?

DKWalser said...

Sorta like if you really just want someone to take photographs of your same-sex commitment ceremony, you'd just hire a photographer who's willing to shoot that kind of event. You wouldn't bother suing a photographer that had declined your commission. My point is that the gay activist groups have been actively recruiting plaintiffs to bring suits.

The left has been doing this on all sorts of issues of interest to them. It shouldn't surprise us when the right does the same thing. It also shouldn't surprise us that, on both the left and the right, most potential plaintiffs would rather just get on with their lives.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...


Kids just need to get way better at sports. Then you can get into big universities despite not even being able to even read at a 5th grade level.

Ann Althouse said...

@Deirdre Good point. Obviously, any website they put up would be visible from anywhere.

FedkaTheConvict said...

Why don't you put up the site at branches of the university that Wisconsin in-staters attend when they don't get into Madison — University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire?

Its probably no that important to kids in the UW system. Students at the branch campuses can always transfer to Madison after a year or two. I know quite a number of UW grads who weren't accepted to Madison for their freshman year; went to another campus, then transferred to Madison for their sophomore or junior year.

Brando said...

I have a feeling that Asian-Americans will end up being the motivating force behind finally ending racial preferences. To most liberals, the idea of white people complaining that they got the shaft because they're white only gets guffaws. But the idea of keeping otherwise qualified Asian students out of schools makes them uneasy.

richlb said...

After the chilling effect of the Mozilla/Prop 8 blowup, who would want to put their name to any cause that might come back to haunt them?

Sorry, Mr. Anybody, but we're going to have to ask you to step down from your position. We were just informed that you participated in a class action lawsuit that some liberals call "racist" in its goals. No hard feeling, though.

Michael K said...

I think they are looking for Asian kids, who are the Jews of the 21st century, but don't want to say so. There is a lot of interest in this in California since UC is trying to evade Prop 209.

R. Chatt said...

Slightly Off Topic, but I saw this yesterday and thought of Crack -- and the endless guilt over slavery in US history and the evil of bad white people. The odd thing is that slavery is more prevalent today and is most prevalent in countries like Mauritania, Haiti, Pakistan. Hard to call it racism when black enslaves black. See The Global Slavery Index 2013

William said...

There's quite a lot of redundancy built into the system. The children of rich, connected people don't need a Ivy League education to succeed in life. They can go to Amherst or Williams & Mary and still have a leg up for a good job. Look at Bill Ayers. He has had a soft landing despite all those screw ups in his youth......The people who get the short end of the stick are Asian-Americans and working class whites who could use a little Ivy prestige to give them a leg up. Plus when you talk about rich, connected people, you're not excluding blacks. Why should DeBlasio's kids get any extra points?

Naut Right said...

Whites and Asians don't do AA unless they're already IN looking for an UP.
We are too invested in the meritocracy method to scrum for an excuse.

Ann Althouse said...

"Its probably no that important to kids in the UW system. Students at the branch campuses can always transfer to Madison after a year or two. I know quite a number of UW grads who weren't accepted to Madison for their freshman year; went to another campus, then transferred to Madison for their sophomore or junior year."

Oh, I think getting in here is very important to students. The workaround is understood, but there is a lot of pain inflicted on Wisconsin in-state students.

James Pawlak said...

Has UW ever been found, after a contested court hearing, of a pattern of such "discrimination" as might require/justify its Affirmative Action programs? If so, how long ago was that finding issued?
If not, why does UW have such a program (And its related remedial education programs)?

Deirdre Mundy said...

For private universities, they can just make the argument that a certain admissions policy is the policy that best advances the university's mission. Which may vary from school to school.

For instance, my alma mater used to make its mission that of recruiting top students and working them like dogs and immersing them in a culture of argument and being a place where fun came to die.

Now, the scuttlebutt is that the mission is to 'rebuild the endowment.' And it turns out the quirky nerds admitted under the old system don't earn enough or donate enough. So the new admissions tend towards athletes, frat boy types, and golden retrievers, since they're more likely to get high paying jobs and donate a lot to their university. (The school has also taken steps to change the dorm system so that there are more single-year houses and fewer multi-year houses, since a lack of cohesiveness within a graduation year means lower donations.

So... the admissions policy reflects the new mission.

For a state University, one could argue that the mission includes educating students that represent the citizens of the state-- so the flagship school's racial and geographic balance should then reflect the state as a whole.

It all depends on how you define the mission....

fivewheels said...

"But the idea of keeping otherwise qualified Asian students out of schools makes them uneasy."

Yeah, I'm sure it really, really does. Liberals have been so uneasy for the last 40 straight years of deliberate racist discrimination. Very uneasy. Oh, the poor dears.

Lance said...

which seems to make a lot more sense than lending your name to an affirmative action lawsuit... unless fighting affirmative action is your mission in life.

Yes. When I read the article, my first thought was that Blum might be more successful finding a plaintiff that wants to appear in court and talk to the media.

Marshal said...

And I suspect that students who don't get into the school they wanted look at their own self-interest and begin their education somewhere else, which seems to make a lot more sense than lending your name to an affirmative action lawsuit... unless fighting affirmative action is your mission in life.

There's no reason you couldn't do both, unless you fear blacklisting. Which of course the students both do and should.

It's demoralizing that such an illegitimate weapon is so widely, if tacitly, accepted. As long as the left controls the institutions their ability to bureaucratize their agenda can only be minimally disrupted.

SGT Ted said...



Bull Connor was for skin color based school assignment, too.

The real question is:

Why are ANY Universities ignoring the USSC decision and the Civil Liberties of all students in order to keep racist admission policies based on skin color?

I just wish our Universities would return to acting like they are part of America, to include following the law.

Brando said...

"Why are ANY Universities ignoring the USSC decision and the Civil Liberties of all students in order to keep racist admission policies based on skin color?"

Because those universities fear that having an overwhelmingly white or Asian student population will make it look like they discriminate against blacks and Hispanics. Institutions nowadays try to show how diverse they are in terms of race and geography, though they're overwhelmingly overrepresented among the upper middle classes. Even in their commitment to racial diversity they aren't exactly going into slums and sharecropper shacks to fine potential students. Most of the "oppressed minorities" they're recruiting tend to be from the upper classes, or in many cases, foreign born students with means.

Brando said...

"Yeah, I'm sure it really, really does. Liberals have been so uneasy for the last 40 straight years of deliberate racist discrimination. Very uneasy. Oh, the poor dears."

Liberals (or at least proponents of racial preferences--many liberals in the younger generations are rejecting race-based preferences) may have turned a deaf ear to the complaints of people like Abigail Fisher, and tend to hold up middle class white kids--who are annoyingly told to "check their privilege" when they complain--as the example of privileged "victims" of such policies. Are you denying that the image of children of impoverished Asian immigrants getting knocked off the list at MIT doesn't take some wind out of their sails?

Particularly considering that this same race of people were subject to anti-coolie laws, race riots, and (for the Japanese at least) internment, it adds a special level of ugliness to racial quotas when these same people are being discriminated against yet again.

Gahrie said...

Because those universities fear that having an overwhelmingly white or Asian student population will make it look like they discriminate against blacks and Hispanics

Not only that, a Democratic DOJ will take such a "disparite impact" as de facto discrimination and punish it as de jure discrimination.

n.n said...

Civil Rights, Inc.

Fight the corporations!

Brando said...

"Not only that, a Democratic DOJ will take such a "disparite impact" as de facto discrimination and punish it as de jure discrimination."

That may be, but I think even if the universities had immunity from such prosecution, they'd still try to achieve racial diversity for PR purposes. Why else would they photoshop in a photo of a black student for a brochure featuring smiling white kids studying on the quad? It's their way of saying "look, we even have black students! Not an overwhelming number, don't worry about that--but just enough so you can attend our school and feel racially enlightened!"

Never mind that you won't be attending with any kids from impoverished neighborhoods (white or black)--that's not the sort of diversity we're speaking of. But a few shades of skin color can ease your conscious for four years, while keeping Jesse Jackson off our backs at the same time.

Archie said...

Racism and advocacy of homosexual marriage. Great combo you've got there my Leftist amigos. Oops! I forgot baby killing. It's a trifecta.

n.n said...

Archie:

It's not baby killing per se. It's human sacrifice a la population control. Their mortal gods do not grant rainbows and unicorns without the requisite demonstration of obeisance. In fact, their great prophet Obama, advised them to murder/abort in order that their burdens may be lifted.

That said, make life, not abortion.

fivewheels said...

Brando, my point is that the effects of affirmative action on Asians has been obvious all along and it has never moved the left, which is motivated by the need to pay off a vital constituency. They flat-out don't give a flying tinker's cuss and never will.

Brando said...

Fivewheels--it may have been obvious to those of us who oppose it, but it's been conveniently ignored by AA proponents. At least with those with whom I've discussed the issue, it tends to move them more into the "fix the system so it rewards based on economic circumstances rather than race" camp.

The ideal "victim" of race preferences (for those in favor) is the middle class white kid, who hasn't "checked his privilege" and can be assumed to do just fine. The plaintiff in Bakke, for example, did go on to have a medical career. It's harder for them to accept when the victim is a Cambodian kid from a working class immigrant family. I think this had a lot to do with the recent failure to reinstate race preferences for California's university system.