Sunday, January 30, 2005

I Never Thought I'd Say This...

Since my mom is a Longhorn alumna, I never thought I'd find myself lauding Texas A&M for anything. But after reading a tidbit in The Nation today, I think I have to.

A&M is famous, among other things, for refusing to consider race as a factor in its admissions. A couple of years ago, A&M took a novel approach to increasing diversity on its campus - it got rid of legacy admissions and began recruiting from urban poor areas. The result: A&M saw increases in all minority enrollment, including a 47% increase for black students. At the same time, the University of Michigan, whose affirmative-action program for undergraduate admissions was nixed by Gratz v. Bollinger, saw an 18% decrease in minority enrollment.

A&M, almost certainly unwittingly, has put forth a new model for affirmative action in admissions: get rid of all preferences and recruit the poor. Let's hope other colleges follow suit.


Mike said...

Wow, why didn't I think of that? It's SIMPLE.

It's all about the only time in the past, present, and future of the world that Texas is ahead of the game in anything.

Anonymous said...

I will say this about preferences... they foster the idea that a college is about more than just churning out diplomas. They encourage students to see the university as a tradition, an alma mater, and a home of sorts.

That said, I think the same thing could be accomplished in better ways than disproportionately rewarding relatives of smart people as if that qualifier alone makes them smart. But you'd still decrease the number of students with wealthy alumni family members who would want to "contribute to their son/niece/grandson's education".

- Pierce