Report: Virginia Colleges Use Racial Considerations in Admissions Process

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Report: Virginia Colleges Use Racial Considerations in Admissions Process


The Center for Equal Opportunity released a report this month that shows colleges in Virginia, including those considered elites on the university landscape, are considering race in the admissions process.

The center’s research fellow, Althea Nagai, compiled the report focused on five public universities in the commonwealth: University of Virginia, William & Mary, Virginia Tech, James Madison University, and George Mason University.

“We uncovered a significant amount of discrimination, especially at the first two schools,” the center said in a press release about the report.

“Over the years, CEO has obtained data, as we did here, from public colleges and universities through state freedom of information laws, analyzed what we found, and released dozens of studies of schools all over the country,” the press release said.

The report was released in conjunction with the Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project.

“Virginia’s public universities are perhaps the country’s most selective among those still allowed to use racial and ethnic preferences (California, for example, and a number of other states have banned such discrimination as a matter of state law),” the center said of its report.

The center report found:

Among the Virginia study’s findings are that the two most selective schools, UVA and William & Mary, give the heaviest admission preferences and they are to African Americans. Thus, the probabilities of admission and odds-ratios showed significant racial preference; there was a black-white SAT gap at the two schools of 180 and 190 points, respectively; and there were 1675 white applicants to UVa and 943 white applicants to William & Mary, who were rejected despite having higher standardized test scores and high-school grades than the black admittee medians.

But perhaps the most salient finding is that all five schools discriminated to one degree or another against Asian Americans in their respective admissions.

Some of the findings from the report’s executive summary include:
• At UVA and WM, black applicants were admitted at higher rates than whites and Asian Americans. WM also admitted Hispanics at a higher rate than Asian American and white applicants.

• 35 percent of black applicants were admitted to UVA, as were 32 percent of Hispanics, 32 percent of Asian Americans, and 30 percent of whites.

• At WM, 41 percent of blacks were admitted, as were 50 percent of Hispanics, 37 percent of Asian Americans, and 35 percent of whites.

The opposite was the case for the other schools, which admitted Asian Americans and whites at a higher rate than blacks and Hispanics:

• VT admitted 68 percent of Asian Americans and 74 percent of whites, compared to 61 percent of Hispanics and 50 percent of blacks.

• JMU admitted 79 percent of whites, 72 percent of Asian Americans, 60 percent of Hispanics, and 53 percent of blacks.

• GMU admitted 87 percent of whites and Asian Americans, 75 percent of Hispanics and 68 percent of blacks.


Texas Tech Medical School To End Use Of Race In Admissions


Texas Tech University's medical school has agreed to end its consideration of race in selecting candidates for admission, an outcome actively sought by the Trump administration.

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center submitted to pressure from the Education Department's Office on Civil Rights which had conducted a 14-year probe into the use of affirmative action in admission policies at the medical school. The agreement is the first reached by the administration and a school to stop using race as an admissions factor.

The investigation was prompted by a complaint filed in 2004 by the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative think tank opposing affirmative action.

The Center's general counsel, Roger Clegg, praised the agreement.

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"It shows again that the Trump administration is serious about enforcing the civil-rights laws so that they forbid discrimination against all racial and ethnic groups, and will not turn a blind eye toward politically correct racial discrimination in the way the Obama administration did," Clegg wrote in the National Review.

Civil rights advocates blasted the decision.

"It is disturbing that the federal government apparently coerced an agreement that goes beyond applicable constitutional restrictions to bar any consideration of race in admissions," said Thomas A. Saenz, president of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. "By going beyond the law to enshrine an extreme agenda, this agreement represents a federal government that seeks to preserve white privilege rather than to secure equal opportunity."

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The Resolution Agreement was signed in February, but it was only made public Tuesday in a report by the Wall Street Journal.

The agreement said the medical school "will discontinue all consideration of an applicant's race and/or national origin" in admission policies. It called for the admissions staff and other staff to be informed of the policy change by March 1. The school also agreed to revise all admissions and recruitment material reflecting the change by Sept. 1.

In 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that schools can consider an applicant's race, but such policies are still subject to court scrutiny.

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In a letter accompanying the agreement, the university endorsed diversity in academic medicine as "a necessity nationally" and maintained that its admissions process complies with the Supreme Court's ruling. Nevertheless, it said it "is willing to sign the Resolution Agreement in an effort to resolve this matter and focus on educating future health care providers."

The Education Department's Office on Civil Rights is also investigating whether the use of race in admissions at Harvard and Yale work to the disadvantage of Asian-American applicants. Last summer the department, under the leadership of Secretary Betsy DeVos, revoked Obama administration guidelines supporting schools who want to use race in admissions to foster diversity in their student bodies.

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