Education and Affirmative Action and "Diversity"

I don't really have much to say about today's Supreme Court decision on affirmative action.  Given that there were 4 different opinions written, the whole issue seems to still be in much dispute.  The continuing Court opinion is, I think, that affirmative action is legal (but as expressed today, not required) in education to address diversity and other goals.

My only thought on this is one I have had a long time about colleges and diversity.  Universities are, if anything, institutions based on ideas and thought.  So it has always been amazing to me that university diversity programs focus not on having a diversity of ideas, but on have a diversity of skin pigment and reproductive plumbing.  In fact, if anything, most universities seem to be aspiring towards creating an intellectual monoculture.  Diversity of opinion, of politics, and of general outlook among prospective students are not even decision-making variables in any educational institution I know of.  And within the faculty, many institutions seem intent on purging from their ranks any single voice that diverges from the majoritarian view.  I could have probably found more diversity of political opinion in a 19th century London gentleman's club than I can today in many campus faculties.


  1. Rondo:

    One of the best essays regarding affirmative action in my opinion

  2. MingoV:

    When I went to medical school there was affirmative action for sex and race. My school was in Brooklyn, and even with preferences African-Americans comprised less than 1% of the accepted students. Applications by African-Americans also were less than 1% of the total. Females comprised one-third of accepted students, an "achievement" that required reduced standards. Less than one-fourth of applicants were female.

    Because of decades of societal bias against boys in K-12 and men in college, there are more female medical students than male. No admissions preferences are needed for this. I've read not one article about the decline in male physicians--what a surprise.

  3. stanbrown:

    You can find more diversity of thought at a meeting of deacons in a rural Baptist church in Mississippi than in most college faculties. Which says a lot about the provincialism of college faculties today.

  4. rst1317:

    There seem to be limitations to this affirmative action when it comes to money. No college seems willing to require that programs that traditionally have been male or female, such as engineering or elementary education, have a 50/50 gender split in graduates.

  5. ErikEssig:

    As blogger Kate Werk likes to say, what's the opposite of diversity? University.

  6. Mole1:

    " diversity programs focus not on having a diversity of ideas,
    but on have a diversity of skin pigment and reproductive plumbing..."

    Certainly, diversity of ideas is not sought.

    To be fair, though, skin color and gender are pretty good proxies for cultural differences (skin color more so than gender), and diversity of culture and experience is what is sought.

  7. rst1317:

    Even if that is the case, the diversity of culture and experience is minor. That is the cas so-called re are better ways of exposing kids to other cultures. About the biggest difference you may get is having some rich kid who learned what a salad fork is and listens to Mos Def vs one that's been outside of Atlanta and listens to Roc Marciano.

  8. Steve-O:

    One problem with increasing diversity of thought and/or demographics is that increasing diversity within institutions can decrease diversity amongst institutions. If every institution gets close to being representative of the general population, you no longer have wacky Cal-Berkely, Jewish Brandeis, Jesuit Notre Dame, or whatever. Unit of measure matters a lot when describing a distribution.

  9. marque2:

    They are all becoming leftist - even Notre Same is succumbing. They all strive to be like Cal Berkeley.

  10. marque2:

    They could never find enough females and would have to reject tons of males. It would cause the collapse of engineering programs. After 40 years of hounding women and bribing women to become engineers - they still prefer to go into different less extreme fields - though you do find a slightly higher percentage of women on Computer science.