Everyone has dreams, and a college degree has always been seen as a crucial means to reaching them. As a result, more people than ever are trying to obtain higher education, and they have good reason to believe that the quality and prestige of the college they attend can have a significant impact on the quality and prestige of the work they do after graduation. Controversy arises when it’s deemed that certain groups of people have an unfair advantage in the admissions process. I have listened to engineers — male engineers — lament the school’s allegedly lower standards for female applicants. They had to work extremely hard to gain acceptance to Cornell’s engineering program, while others, they claim, just “walked in” because they “have vaginas.” Despite the misogyny conveyed by this language, however, unqualified girls in engineering are the least of our concerns, when one considers the apparent injustice done when black and Latinx applicants with credentials inferior to those of white applicants are given what those white applicants deem preferential treatment in college admissions.
“By having the Asian American community advocate for this, we are still going to get a large amount of inclusion, because socio-economic oppression is linked to economic oppression and the ability to afford or access resources that allow one to get into a university,” he said.
The concern that Asian applicants must perform better than non-Asians to achieve parity underlies the newest tide of legal challenges to the use of race in admission — a tide that now is rolling toward Ithaca’s shores.
Political activist Ward Connerly said he makes “no apology for saying that I am a guy who belongs to the camp of color-blindness.” In a Wednesday lecture hosted by the Cornell Republicans, the former University of California regent spoke on the future of racial preferences in higher education. Connerly gained national attention in the 1990s when he served on the University of California’s governing board and led controversial efforts to dismantle affirmative action policies in University admissions. His initiative led to a statewide ballot measure that prohibited all state governmental institutions from considering race, sex or ethnicity with regards to employment, contracting and education. Connerly later led similar successful efforts in Michigan, Washington, Arizona, Nebraska and Oklahoma. According to Connerly, he felt uncomfortable with the way the University used race in admission policies, giving preferences to underrepresented minorities through affirmative action.