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Erasing Racial Ratios
Law-school discrimination in Arizona and Nebraska.


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Over the last few weeks, the Center for Equal Opportunity has released studies documenting the extent to which race and ethnicity are weighed in law school admissions at three universities: the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, and the University of Nebraska.

The analysis is based on data supplied by the law schools themselves. The studies were prepared by Dr. Althea Nagai, a resident fellow at CEO, and can be viewed on the organization’s website.

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The data obtained from the University of Nebraska College of Law show that race and ethnicity play a huge role in determining who gets in. The CEO study found that blacks and, to a lesser extent, Latinos are admitted with significantly lower undergraduate grade-point averages and LSAT scores than whites and, again to a lesser extent, Asians.

The odds ratio favoring blacks over whites was 442 to 1. The odds ratio is a statistical device; to put things in perspective, the odds ratio for a smoker versus a nonsmoker dying from lung cancer is a mere 14 to 1.

During the two years studied (the entering classes of 2006 and 2007), 389 whites were rejected by the law school despite higher LSATs and undergraduate GPAs than the average black admittee.

Racial discrimination in university admissions is always appalling. But the extremely heavy weight given to race by the University of Nebraska College of Law is off the charts.

Not only was race weighed, but it was weighed much more heavily than, for instance, residency status.

A white resident of Nebraska in 2007 was more than twenty times less likely to be admitted than a black applicant from out of state. The former’s chance of getting in, if he had an LSAT score and undergraduate grade-point average the same as the median black admittee, was 3 percent, while the latter’s was 67 percent.

The data obtained from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University law schools likewise showed that race and ethnicity play a huge role in determining who gets in there, too. Once again, and at both schools, blacks and, to a lesser extent, Latinos are admitted with significantly lower undergraduate grade-point averages and LSAT scores than whites and, again to a lesser extent, Asians.

And, once again, the degree of discrimination found at both schools, but especially at Arizona State, was off the charts.

The odds ratio favoring blacks over whites was 250 to 1 at the University of Arizona and 1115 to 1 at Arizona State. The latter is the worst result CEO has ever found, having conducted studies like this at dozens of schools for more than a decade.

Nearly a thousand white students were denied admission in Arizona even though they had higher undergraduate GPAs and LSATs than the average black student who was admitted — and over a hundred Asian and Latino students were in the same boat with them.

Not only was race weighed but, as in Nebraska, it was weighed much more heavily than residency status. For instance, a white Arizonan in 2007 with the same LSAT score and undergraduate GPA as the average black admittee was about eight times less likely to be admitted to the University of Arizona than a black out-of-state applicant (a 9 percent chance of admission versus a 71 percent chance), and at Arizona State he would be twelve times less likely to be admitted (an 8 percent chance versus a 98 percent chance).



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