Affirmative Action for the Rich

Blogs, Letters & Testimonials

January 24, 2022

Breaking News: The Supreme Court will hear a pair of cases that challenge the race-based affirmative action policies for admissions at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. What does this mean for higher ed equity?

Catch up with Michael Dannenberg’s op-ed from the New York Daily News, which ran on January 20.

American colleges practicing structural racism

Sometime this month, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce whether it will accept a challenge to affirmative action in college admissions as practiced at Harvard University, and separately, at UNC-Chapel Hill.

As important as both these cases are for the race-based affirmative action debate, they should also serve to highlight the many forms of affirmative action for the already privileged that exist in higher education that should be dismantled. The federal government, New York State, even New York City acting alone can and should help make that happen.

The clearest and most pernicious example of affirmative action for the already advantaged in higher education is the legacy preference. The descendants of alumni that attended highly selective colleges are overwhelmingly white, almost never low-income, and receive a sizable bump in their admission odds.

At tough-to-get-into colleges, the percentage of legacy applicants who are underrepresented racial minorities is only 6.7% — slightly over half that of the regular applicant pool. 

Continue reading the full op-ed on the New York Daily News.