Phi Beta Cons

Debating affirmative action

Here’s an article from The Daily Bruin about a panel discussion at UCLA recently that featured three critics of affirmative action: Ward Connerly, Richard Sander, and Peter Schwartz.
What’s fascinating about the story is the protest against the speakers. One Adam Lerman said “Young people in this city are not going to accept being relegated to second class universities.”
Pretty silly. Unless UCLA were to expand many times over, it’s inevitable that most students in Los Angeles will have to be “relegated to second class universities.” Moreover, there is no reason to treat UCLA as if it’s Shangri-La and everything else as garbage. The courses at UCLA aren’t taught any better than at the less prestigious schools. A UCLA degree is not a guarantee of success in life and a degree from, oh, Cal State Northridge isn’t a badge of shame. Like so many others, this Lerman fellow has fallen for the notion that your life will be one of Hobbesian misery unless you get into a prestige university.
We also learn that criticism of affirmative action just isn’t tolerable to some. Said one student, “We shouldn’t have to take these racist attacks.”

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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