Affirmative Action (little rant from leftfield)

I got a private criticism from centaur about my blab about UC. In it he said something about Affirmative Action, which he assumed (correctly) that I supported, and the effect of Affirmative Action on Asians. He had a couple misconceptions that I think still need some exposure, so I'm posting my portion of my reply here.


UC doesn't have affirmative action anymore. It was stopped around 1996. Prior to that, in 1986 I think, they were sued for discriminating against Asian students, but it didn't affect affirmative action. The affirmative action openings were, basically, already reserved by some existing rules. Admissions used their discretion to allocate the non-AA s openings; so the competition was between Asians and whites, and the admissions people decided to give preference to whites. The upshot was that all the non-special-case admissions, which made up 50% of frosh admissions at the time, had to be offered based on scores, not at the discretion of admissions officers.

Today, due to the elimination of affirmative action, I believe they have altered the score-based system. There's something called "local context", which means that there's a second score-based system (in addition to the first one) that can be used to admit students from schools that underperform.

I think AfAc at Berkeley is still debated heavily, even though the policy hasn't existed in over a decade, because they have a transparent, score-based admissions policy, and has published some statistics about demographics and scores. Debaters can crunch the numbers. Private colleges have opaque, unstated standards for admitting freshmen, and are difficult to scrutinize or debate. So, there's no accountability, and little debate.

While I support AfAc, particularly where it favors poor people, my opinion is moot, because the policy has been legislated out of existence at UC.


Additionally, there's more (neverending) debate online. Here's one article:

Beat that dead horse. It may come back to life, but, rest assured that the ones who killed it will know how to kill it again.

Also, note that the linked debate is between liberals, in a liberal magazine, not between liberals and conservatives.