The Corner

Lee Bollinger’s Mask Slips

Here’s an interesting panel discussion on “What’s Next for Affirmative Action?” put on by the New York Times and moderated by its Supreme Court correspondent, Adam Liptak. The panelists are Columbia University president Lee Bollinger, Georgetown University law school professor Sheryll Cashin, and Richard Kahlenberg of the Century Foundation. Cashin and Kahlenberg want to end racial preferences in university admissions; Bollinger, a longtime advocate of them, of course does not.

What’s most interesting is that Bollinger makes it quite clear that the principal reason he favors racial preferences is because of America’s history of racial discrimination — notwithstanding the fact that this justification has been rejected by the Supreme Court and has not been available as a legal matter for decades. (See, for example, what he says at around 13:30–15:30, 23:30, and 32:00.)

Interesting that he admits it, though not surprising that he thinks it: For a long time, it has been clear that this — and not the phony-baloney “diversity” rationale — is what really motivates schools. And how “compelling” can the diversity rationale be to the courts if it’s not the real reason for these policies?

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