Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

Stop the Presses! New Diversity Study!


There’s a story today in Inside Higher Ed about a new study of, yawn, campus diversity: I’m sure the diversiphiles will find much to like, but it really provides the most ammunition to those of us who believe that the desire for a politically correct racial and ethnic mix does not justify admissions discrimination on the basis of skin color and national origin.

In particular, the study’s author acknowledges that (A) there is a “surprising lack of evidence” that such diversity is a compelling interest (which is what’s needed, as a legal matter, to justify racial and ethnic discrimination), that (B) even this study provides only “soft” evidence of diversity benefits, and that (C) in any event, there’s plenty of diversity and its benefits at UC Berkeley – which, for over a decade, has not been using admission preferences and at which blacks and Hispanics (the groups for whom preferences are typically awarded) are underrepresented, to use the fashionable term.

On this last point, I’d hazard a guess that the interracial dialogue is better at a school where everyone knows that everyone else got in according to the same standards. I remain unconvinced, by the way, that the kind of bull-session interactions the study focuses on are so valuable and predictable – and that what is learned is so otherwise unobtainable – as to justify anything as ugly as racial discrimination.


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