An assault on the concept of “diversity” in college admissions is underway, this time by Asian Americans and older Americans.
A group called Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) recently filed a brief in U.S. District Court of Massachusetts seeking immediate judgment in its favor in its 2014 lawsuit against Harvard University. The group is equating discrimination against Asian Americans with discrimination against Jews in the 1930s. The SFFA’s mission is to eliminate race and ethnicity as factors that either harm or help that student to gain admission to a competitive university.
Meanwhile, older adults claim elite universities are violating the Age Discrimination in Employment Act by denying them admission to graduate study programs solely because of their age.
The SFFA alleges Harvard discriminates against Asian American applicants in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 . The group claims that applicants of Asian descent are eliminated in a subjective review where they are deemed to have “less attractive ‘personal qualities” than whites, African-Americans and Hispanics.
Moreover, the SFFA claims that Harvard engages in “racial balancing” to achieve diversity in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The SFFA contends that Harvard has never seriously considered “race neutral” alternatives in admissions and simply ignores federal court rulings that permit racial preferences only if they are narrowly tailored to enroll a “critical mass of unrepresented minority students” to realize the benefits of a diverse student body. The SFFA claims Harvard uses race as a “predominant factor” in admissions, particularly with respect to African-American and Hispanic applicants.
Can universities make subjective distinctions that disproportionately discriminate against Asian American and older applicants?
Continue reading “Asian-Americans, Older Americans Seek Non-Discriminatory College Admissions”
The high-tech industry in Silicon Valley isn’t the only American industry with serious diversity problems.
National Public Radio this week reported that male sources outnumber female sources on the network’s two largest weekday newsmagazines by two-to-one. Sources include on-air personalities and subject matter experts, Only about 30 percent of all sources on Morning Edition and All Things Considered were female in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015. There has been no improvement for the past three years.
Women, who comprise 50.45 percent of the U.S. population, are under-represented along all racial classes.
Here are the percentage of male/female sources broken down by race:
- Asian : Males, 76%; Females 24%.
- Whites: Males, 70%; Females 30%.
- Latino: Males, 71%; Females 29%.
- Blacks: Males 62%; Females 39%.
Women and Latinos are severely under-represented as NPR sources.
The percentage of NPR sources who are Latino remained flat at six percent for each of the three years. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that Latinos make up 17.4 percent of the U.S. population.
Here is the breakdown of sources by race from the NPR report:
- There was a decline in the overall percentage of white sources, from 80 percent in 2013 to 73 percent in 2015. Whites make up 77.4 percent of the U.S. population in 2014.
- African-American voices rose from 5 percent in 2013 to 11 percent in 2015. African-Americans comprise 13.2 percent of the U.S. population.
- The share of Asian sources rose to eight percent in 2015, compared to five percent in 2013. Asians comprise 5.4 percent of the U.S. population.
Asians as a group are actually over-represented but Asian women lag the farthest behind in any racial group.
Of course, the U.S. population is not the same as NPR’s listener-ship. NPR listeners are 85 percent white, eight percent Latino and seven percent black.
Keith Woods, NPR’s vice president for diversity in news and operations, is quoted as stating he is “generally pleased with the direction that this is going,” noting the increases in the share of black on-air sources, as well as the percentage of “subject matter experts” who are people of color. He said he had “hoped for better news on our coverage of women, on our inclusion of women.”
Note: Two protected classes were not surveyed by NPR, age and disability.
What does diversity mean in the employment context?
A recent report on standards that federally regulated companies can use to evaluate their diversity policies and practices provides that diversity refers only to racial minorities and women. Minorities are defined as “Black Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Asian Americans.”
One might expect the term “diversity” to at least encompass protected classes under federal discrimination laws. After-all, these groups have been historically deprived of jobs and opportunities precisely because they are diverse from the mainstream.Yet older workers and the disabled are omitted from the definition of diversity set forth in the Final Interagency Policy Statement Establishing Joint Standards for Assessing the Diversity Policies and Practices of Entities Regulated by the Agencies.
The report was issued by six federal agencies pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The agencies are the Federal Reserve Board, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Credit Union Administration, Securities and Exchange Commission and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Continue reading “Fed Diversity Measure Omits Older Workers & Disabled”