Yesterday Bloomberg published an article by the Physicist Stephen Hsu calling for more transparency in the college admissions process. Hsu takes the opportunity provided by a recent investigation by the U.S. Department of Education into anti-Asian discrimination in undergraduate admissions by Harvard and Princeton to argue that we won't be able to get a good sense of whether or not discrimination is occurring, particularly as most colleges use â€œholistic admissions,â€ without a general commitment to transparency by the higher education community.
â€œIt's a common belief among Asian-American families that their children are held to higher academic standards than college applicants from other ethnic groups,â€ Hsu claims, but then goes on to make an argument against using race as a factor in admissions, regardless of whether or not Asian-Americans are, in fact, being discriminated against: â€œIt is terrible corrosive to use race as an important factor in what are superficially (disingenuously?) described as meritocratic evaluations. Perhaps the most objectionable outcome is to produce a distribution of students on campus whose intellectual strength is strongly correlated to their race.â€
Race, meritocracy, and affirmative action are all sensitive subjects, but the discrimination Asians may (or may not) be facings is an under-explored aspect of the issue, and further investigations may strengthen the â€œanti-affirmative actionâ€ case.