Can Diversity Be Quantified ?

As per the prompt, I am taking a broad interpretation of the word field here. In the sense that I am going to discuss college admissions, where I am rationalizing this with the fact that in the future I wish to work as a professor. As some of you may or may not know there is an advocacy group called the Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) which has brought a case against Harvard University, which has made its way to the Massachusetts Federal Court system. The SFFA is claiming that Harvard’s admission process is unfairly weighing race as a metric to obtain entrance into the university. The SFFA is claiming because Harvard only admits a certain “quota” of Asian-American students, that the Asian-American students they do let in have to achieve higher test scores in comparison to that of White, Hispanic, and Non-Hispanic Black applicants. The SFFA believes that a metric like economic status, in lieu of race would also produce a similar amount of diversity as the current admissions screening. All that being said, judge Allison Burroughs ruled today that while Harvard’s admissions process is “not perfect,” she would not “dismantle a very fine admissions program that passes constitutional muster, solely because it could do better.” (Biskupic 2019).

Later on in the article, Harvard’s acceptance data based on race was published, however racial information based on US’s population was not. As an engineer I need numbers to compare against. I went out to the internet and pulled this data from David Erickson and compared that to Harvard’s acceptance numbers (2014). The results of this can be seen below:

 

Based on the numbers Asian-American have almost a 5 times larger presence than their representation in the US population. With white people and Hispanics making up for this loss. I bring this up not because I think that we need to reduce the Asian acceptance rate but rather bring up the question of what is a diverse campus? Where do we draw the line at what is diverse? Do we need to look at diversity as a national thing or a global issue? If it is national, immigration policy is going to vastly dictate what future diversity looks like. Do we really leave something like that up to politicians? If it was global, then the Asians a most likely vastly underrepresented in the numbers above. The thing I am getting at is how and where do we draw that line? I look forward to talking about this next week!

 

References:

Biskupic, J. (2019). “Federal Judge Upholds Harvard’s Admissions Process in Affirmative Action Case.” CNN.

Erickson, D. (2014). “US Population Estimates By Race/Ethnicity.” e-sSrategy Trends, <http://trends.e-strategyblog.com/2014/03/28/us-population-estimates-by-race-ethnicity-1990-2019/18040>.

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