In ruling that Harvard’s undergraduate admissions policy doesn’t violate federal civil rights law, the U.S. District Court upheld the need for racially diverse campuses (“Judge Rules Harvard’s Race-Conscious Admissions Policy Constitutional,” The Wall Street Journal, Oct. 2). The court rejected the claim that Harvard held Asian applicants to a higher standard than those of other races.
I’m not a lawyer, but I think the entire controversy can be avoided by understanding the principle of the flat maximum. The truth is that the qualifications of all those bunched at the very top of the curve can succeed in elite colleges and universities. Trying to rank them is a fool’s errand. Therefore, why not use a lottery among these sterling applicants to decide who will be admitted?
Critics will say that a lottery would not produce the desired racial mix. Quite true. But it would be totally unbiased and offer legal protection for schools that use it. California Institute of Technology is unique in offering admission strictly on the basis of academic qualifications. As a result, Asian enrollment has grown steadily from 25 percent to 43 percent over the past two decades. To date, the school has not been sued.
(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)