Goals, Motivations, Leadership Skills and Admissions
6 October 2004

Re:
Policies leave room for stereotypes from The Michigan Daily,
reposted on:
American Renaissance

from the article:

Yet for students like Johnson, the admissions policies have had an unspoken side effect--causing some nonminority students to believe minorities are getting a free pass into one of the nation's top universities, regardless of their qualification.
I can't speak for all "nonminorities," but my view is not that "minorities are getting a free pass." That is a strawman. What I believe is: A small percentage of white people are academically talented enough to study successfully at a challenging university. A somewhat smaller percentage of black people are similarly talented. Thus, vast majorities of black and white people don't belong at the University of Michigan, don't get into it and, for the most part, don't even apply.

I also believe that if a few challenging universities made it their business to admit a student body with a substantial percentage of black students, say 10 to 20 percent, who were just as academically talented as their white students, it would be possible. It would, however, noticably lower the percentages of truly academically talented black students at other challenging universities. It would also require overt racial discrimination, so it couldn't be done under existing laws.

It is simply not possible for all challenging universities to admit black and white students according to their proportions in the general population AND ALSO have the black and white segments of their student bodies be equally academically talented.

I believe many white students understand that actual situation. They know that some of their black classmates are talented and belong at a challenging university. They can also conclude, from their general knowledge of group differences as well as from observations consistent with that knowledge, that some of their black classmates would do better in less challenging environments.

Unfortunately, university administrators and their various allies are in a position similar to that of the Bush administration. They must continue to support premises that have turned out to be pure baloney and that are widly understood to be pure baloney. Thus, they blather endlessly about "stereotypes" and "misconceptions." Michael Fleischer, for example, is quoted as saying, "Obviously, colleges aren't doing a good job of communicating how they are creating a diverse student body."

Most amusing! That's like saying slaughterhouses are not "doing a good job of communicating how they" make sausages. Indeed, those techniques for "creating a diverse student body" are often closely guarded secrets, and what information we, the public, have about them has been obtained, in many cases, only through lawsuits filed under the Freedom of Information Act.

*

According to the article, John Matlock, "director of the University's Office of Academic Multicultural Initiatives" claims that the new "LSA admissions policy focuses more on the student's goals, motivations and their leadership skills."

There is something chilling about that policy. Let me talk about myself for a minute. I don't claim to be intelligent. I've made way too many stupid mistakes in my life! If I were intelligent, I would be rich, but I'm poor. Not a big deal, actually. I'm old enough (57) to be comfortable being myself. I do claim to be "academically talented." Send me back to school at Michigan, Ohio State, maybe even Northwestern or Stanford and I'll do OK. I'd fit in. "He's a geek and a geezer," my classmates would think, "but he belongs here." Young women would smile at me. Young men would ask about my political opinions.

When a public university strays too far from simple academic talent, simple liklihood of successfully completing a usual course of study, as the prime criterion for admission, then it improperly begins an attempt to shape the character of society. The University of Michigan might claim to consider "goals, motivations and . . . leadership skills" in order to achieve "diversity," but, of course, taking those things into account actually lessens diversity.

I want challenging universities to remain open to academically talented people like me, regardless of how wrong-headed our goals might be or how strange our motivations might be or whether or not we have leadership skills or whether or not our political opinions are Correct. I take all of the twisted justifications and supercillious evasions of people like Michael Fleischer and John Matlock personally. I may be somewhat clueless and slightly whacked. Hell, OK, maybe I'm a little bit paranoid! But I am convinced that one purpose of all the goals, personality, motivation stuff is to make sure that people like me don't get into schools like the University of Michigan. I do resent that.

 
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