May 22, 2003

INDIANA UNIVERSITY LAW STUDENT SCOTT DILLON HAS BEEN INVESTIGATING Indiana University’s claims regarding affirmative action. He says that IU is, to put it politely, misleading the Supreme Court. Now it’s been noticed in the wider world. Add this to claims that the University of Michigan covered up or misrepresented study data that contradict its claims and you’ve got a real issue. I hope that people will get to the bottom of this. I can’t help feeling that we’re seeing a new kind of “massive resistance” on many campuses.

UPDATE: It’s worth reading this confession originally from the Indianapolis Star, too. Excerpt:

Roughly speaking, to meet our de facto quotas, we must leapfrog less qualified minority applicants over approximately 330 more qualified non-minority applicants each year, many of whom, of course, will be Indiana residents. . . .

We differ in that to meet our de facto quota, we regularly lower our usual standards of admission more than our counterparts at Michigan lower theirs. For example, to meet our de facto quota of blacks in each first-year class, we deviate from our usual standards of admission more than any remotely comparable law school is willing to do. In fact, of all the law schools in the country approved by the American Bar Association, none regularly lowers its standards of admission for affirmative action purposes as much as we do. As a result, black applicants whose low grades, LSAT scores and extracurricular record would otherwise win admission only to Howard Law School in Washington, D.C., regularly win admission from us. And the overwhelming majority of applicants — perhaps 80 percent — for whom we lower our standards so drastically are from out of state.

Such is the affirmative action admissions policy we at the IU Bloomington Law School have followed for more than 30 years. We follow a similarly heavy-handed affirmative action policy for financial aid and faculty recruitment.

A policy however well-meaning in the abstract can feel foul to those given the job of implementing it. And in my four years on the admissions committee, routinely leapfrogging minority applicants over so many dramatically more qualified non-minority applicants, foul is how our affirmative action policy came to feel. Seeing the photographs and reading the record and personal statements of non-minority applicants whom we rejected in order to admit the far less qualified left me feeling as though I should wash.

Read the whole thing.

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