Check out the new #AffAxnSyllabus to learn more about affirmative action from publications that have well-researched and evidence-based.
These are some common questions relevant to public debates over affirmative action, as applied to college admissions. Although affirmative action is also practiced in public contracting and employment, this syllabus focuses on the third area of its practice – higher education and selective admissions. The purpose of this syllabus is to highlight research that can better inform current public debates over affirmative action in higher education.
For the last several decades, with every legal and political attack on affirmative action, scholars of race and college access have fielded numerous media requests to discuss the implications of these attacks. Many of these questions have reflected the persistence of pervasive myths about affirmative action, its goals, and how it works.
As faculty, staff, and students at a land grant university, we offer this syllabus as a public education initiative. As some scholars have found, in addition to the pervasiveness of misinformation about contemporary affirmative action in the general public, bad information about the policy also persists among many who are actively advocating for or against affirmative action. We hope that this syllabus can serve as a resource to establish a basic understanding of affirmative action, including how it has evolved since the 1970s in the U.S., and to advance a more informed public discourse and policy debate. Particularly as contemporary attacks on affirmative action continue through the federal courts and the Trump administration actions, it is important for public dialogues to be well-informed. As such, we have created this syllabus to feature publications that have been identified as well-researched and evidence-based works.
Thank you for all those that attended the webinar on Thursday, September 20.
Here is the recording of the webinar with markers to specific questions and answers that can be viewed on the YouTube link
Here’s a list of questions that were answered during the webinar:
- 9:35 – Affirmative Action Background, Whole Person Review, and Legal Question presented by Dr. Poon
- 19:15 – Q1 What factors are included in holistic review? Presentation about what goes behind holistic review on college admissions
- 24:51– Q2 In the Harvard case, what is the personal rating? Is it it a personality test? Doesn’t this rating seem to be biased against Asian Americans?
- 34:30 – Q3 How do you answer the question, “Do you think identifying as Asian will hurt you when applying to college?” How do you advise students and families who ask this question?
- 36:07 – Q4 What if we looked at socioeconomic status for affirmative action rather than race? Wouldn’t that eliminate many of the concerns about affirmative action but still reach the intent?
- 39:15 – Q5 What will happen if affirmative action is overturned? What will be some unexpected and expected consequences?
- 40:50 – Q6 As a high school senior currently applying to colleges, can you speak about your perspective on affirmative action in college admissions? Why do you value diversity?
- 45:48 – Q7 What are simple and effective ways everyday people can talk about the controversy over race-conscious holistic review and Asian Americans?
- 50:02 – “Would it be helpful to look at scholarship that shows actual discriminatory practices?”
- 54:48 – “Diversity is good but would it be necessary to be enforced by affirmative action?”
- 54:47 – “Many affirmative action supporters argue that we need it to break glass ceiling. Do you think it’s fair for tens of thousands Asian Americans to be discriminated against in their college admissions just for a few people to break the glass ceiling”
- 58:24 – “I would believe racial diversity is important if it’s applied to all majors. Are they”
- 1:01:50 – “Should I pick a major over another major to get admitted?”
- 1:05:14 – “UC Berkeley Chancellor in her draft strategic plan is to focus on becoming a Hispanic Serving Institution or HSI in the next ten years. In an HSI require a 25% Hispanic enrollment to qualify. Isn’t this a quota?”
- 1:08:40 – “How does affirmative action help the minorities within the Asian American community”
- 1:10:46 – “How do you explain the higher percentage of Asian Americans in the California universities as compared to Harvard?”
- 1:15:58 – “SFA argues that teacher and counselor letters of recommendation speak to student’s personality and personal traits and the finding shows that Asian American applicants receive the same ratings as white students. Some people think Asian American students getting a lower personality rating is bewildering. Are letters not mean as much anymore?”
- 1:19:01 – “With the push for data disaggregation in higher education for Asian and Asian American communities, how do you think the advocacy for affirmative action will be effected or will it change?”
- 1:21:15 – “How do people engage APA or APIDA folks who do not support affirmative action? What are some key points facts when pulling for the need of it?”
- 1:25:04 – “About 70% of affirmative action beneficiaries at elite colleges are from middle to upper class. Is it fair for colleges to give them a leg up at the expense of middle and lower class Asian American kids?”
Also, here is a link to the list of schools mentioned in the webinar that consider Asian Americans in college diversity recruitment programs.
The graph shows the Asian American percetange of Harvard applicants (red) out of the total applicant pool, the percentage of Asian American admitted students (green), and the Asian American percentage of matriculants, or people who were admitted and taking classes towards a major (purple) from 1980-2018.
The yellow dotted line is the percetange of Asian American percantage of US undergraduate enrollment.
Uncovering the Truth
Thursday, September 20, 2018
@ 8 PM EST / 5 PM PST
Learn from experts in higher education and college admissions of affirmative action and holistic review of Asian Americans from experts in the field and practitioners from schools. Webinar will be on
RSVP by Monday, September 17 – http://bit.ly/UncoveringTheTruthWebinar
Technical Information to join the webinar will be sent prior to 9/20!
Dr. Julie J. Park – Julie J. Park is associate professor of education at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research addresses how race, religion, and social class affect diversity and equity in higher education, including the diverse experiences of Asian American college students. She is the author of When Diversity Drops: Race, Religion, and Affirmative Action in Higher Education (Rutgers University Press, 2013) and the upcoming book Race on Campus: Debunking Myths with Data (Harvard Education Press, forthcoming).
Alyson Tom – Alyson Tom has worked in education for fifteen years. She is Associate Director of College Counseling at Castilleja School in California, where she advises students on college admissions and financial aid. She serves on the NACAC Government Relations Committee and is the incoming Co-Chair of the NACAC Asian Pacific Islander Special Interest Group. Before Castilleja, she worked as a College Counselor at Episcopal High School and Assistant Director and Senior Assistant Director of Admission at Rice University in Texas. Alyson holds a B.A. from Rice University and an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Houston.
Rebecca – A high school senior in the San Francisco Bay Area, Rebecca is passionate about diversity and inclusion. After attending the NAIS Student Diversity Leadership Conference, she was inspired to lead an Asian-American Affinity Group at her school because she wanted to create a space for students to embrace their heritage and to discuss issues they face. Rebecca is currently helping to plan a Diversity and Inclusion in Education Conference for teachers and students which will take place later this fall. When she’s not in class or writing college essays, Rebecca enjoys volleyball, reading, and trying new food with friends.
Moderator – Dr. OiYan Poon – Dr. OiYan Poon is an Assistant Professor of higher education leadership in the School of Education and Director of the Center for Racial Justice in Education and Research. Her research focuses on the racial politics and discourses of college access, higher education organization and policy, affirmative action, and Asian Americans.
Moderator – Douglas H. Lee – Douglas H. Lee is a graduate research assistant in the Higher Education Leadership program at Colorado State University where he is a current Ph.D. student. He has previously served as the Associate Director at the University of Utah Asia Campus in South Korea, Assistant Director of the Asian American Center at Northeastern University in Boston, and Senior Program Manager at OCA in Washington D.C.
Panelists subject to change and webinar is limited to 500 people