UPDATE: 8.17.23: The recent Supreme Court decision overturning colleges’ affirmative action programs has not deterred the admissions departments of America’s institutions of higher learning. In the Boston Globe, Chloe Bohl explains how Harvard and other schools plan to go on doing exactly what they were doing via different methods. She writes:
When the Supreme Court’s conservative majority ruled in June that Harvard and UNC Chapel Hill’s race-conscious college admissions practices were unconstitutional, it effectively barred colleges and universities across the country from considering an applicant’s race during the admissions process. Critics of the decision on and off the bench reacted with alarm, arguing it would drastically reduce enrollment of Black and Hispanic students, especially at highly selective institutions. Universities were left scrambling for legal ways to continue admitting diverse, representative classes.
Crucially, the decision left the door open for an applicant to write about “how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration or otherwise” in their application, as Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.
Now, many Massachusetts colleges are modifying their applications to allow students to do just that.
Aug. 1 saw the launch of the 2023-2024 Common Application, which more than a million students use each year to apply to up to 20 colleges at a time. Many schools, including highly selective institutions with big applicant pools, ask students to write one or more supplemental, school-specific essays to accompany their Common App submissions. This year, some schools have modified their supplemental essay prompts to give students the opportunity to talk about how race has shaped their lives.
Here’s how some local schools modified their applications this season.
For the upcoming application season, Harvard replaced an optional, open-ended supplemental essay with five short, required questions. The first of these questions is:
- “Harvard has long recognized the importance of enrolling a diverse student body. How will the life experiences that shape who you are today enable you to contribute to Harvard?”
The other questions ask applicants to reflect on experiences that shaped them and how they would use a Harvard education. All five questions previously appeared on Harvard’s application as possible prompts for the optional essay.
Harvard’s application redesign is meant “to provide every student the opportunity to reflect on and share how their life experiences and academic and extracurricular activities shaped them, how they will engage with others at Harvard, and their aspirations for the future,” a Harvard College spokesperson told Boston.com.
UPDATE 3.22.23: Since writing to you about the downward spiral on college campuses in 2019, things have only gotten worse for America’s college students. Today in the NY Post, Glenn H. Reynolds laments the treatment of Judge Kyle Duncan of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit who was accosted and abused by a group of lunatic Stanford students and, startlingly, their law school’s Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. He also discusses the case of the cancellation of brilliant legal mind, Ilya Shapiro, a lecturer at Georgetown Law and Cato Institute’s former VP and Director of the Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, who was treated very badly. Reynolds explains that woke colleges are “literally driving students mad.” He writes:
That’s bad. But what’s worse is that the woke/DEI approach to education also makes students crazy.
Jonathan Haidt recently wrote a fascinating essay on why the mental health of college students has been in such steep decline for the past decade.
He noted cognitive behavioral therapy, used to treat depression, teaches patients to stop ruminating over perceived slights and setbacks and engaging in black and white thinking or emotional reasoning.
But the culture of DEI does exactly the opposite: It encourages students to dwell on slights, engage in (literal) black and white thinking and prioritize their emotions. It’s “reverse CBT,” in his phrase.
Instead of being taught to overcome traumatic experiences, negative thoughts and emotional instability, students are encouraged to dwell on them and even to base their identities on them.
When victimhood is a source of prestige, there’s no incentive to get better.
And when students are told their weaknesses provide an excuse to bully others, expect more bullying — and more weaknesses.
This isn’t good for the bullies or the bullied, and it isn’t good for the institutions they inhabit.
Students’ worst, and most juvenile, behavior is indulged and rewarded, with the predictable result that students grow increasingly juvenile and ill-behaved.
This from institutions that charge top dollar to, purportedly, educate America’s future leaders.
Over the past decade, universities have spent a fortune on DEI (though the “inclusion” part certainly wasn’t visible at Stanford) and there’s no evidence it has made things better on campus for anyone except the DEI bureaucrats.
Insanity, we’re told, consists of doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. Maybe it’s time to stop the craziness.
Originally posted on July 3, 2019.
Ziva Dahl of The American Spectator writes (abridged):
An Ohio bakery was just awarded $44 million from Oberlin College as compensation for being defamed as racist by college administrators.
Considerable focus has been placed on the role of progressive college professors in setting the intellectual norms on campus. The ever-growing ranks of left-leaning administrators are equally consequential in transforming our educational institutions into progressive caricatures of academies of learning.
In the twenty-five years after 1989, according to a 2014 report, the number of administrative and professional non-teaching employees in U.S. colleges and universities has more than doubled, vastly outpacing the growth of students or faculty.
During this period, universities and colleges collectively added 517,636 administrators, a staggering average of 87 each working day.
The demographic composition of this ever-expanding administrative bureaucracy has also changed. College administrators are increasingly diverse with respect to race, ethnicity, sexual identity, and economic background.
A 2018 national survey by Sarah Lawrence professor Samuel Adams reveals that administrators are the most left-leaning campus group, outnumbering their conservative counterparts by the eye-popping ratio of 12 to 1.
Ziva Dahl is a senior fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center.
Read more here.
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