University News

U. refutes claims of ethnic quotas

The SAT scores of Asian Americans are not held to a higher standard, the dean of admission said

By
Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In response to claims that the Ivy League uses quotas when admitting Asian American students, Dean of Admission Jim Miller ’73 said the University does not use quotas or discriminate against any ethnic group in determining who is admitted to Brown.

Several commentators alleged that the constancy of Asian American enrollment in Ivy League institutions — despite an increase in the number of college-age Asian Americans ­— is evidence of a quota system, according to an opinions spread published Dec. 20 in the New York Times.

Since 2002, Asian American enrollment at Brown has had little variation. According to data from the Office of Institutional Research, the number of Asian American students enrolled has ranged between 773 and 913 since 2002.

“The Asian American applicant pool has grown in concert with the pool generally. We can control who we admit,” Miller said. “What we can’t control is who shows up.”

He noted the Admission Office has accepted between 380 and 530 Asian American applicants within each incoming class in the last decade, which is higher than the number of Asian Americans who matriculated since 2007, according to data released by the admission office.

President of 80-20 National Asian American Education Foundation S.B. Woo told The Herald he believes the Ivy League has treated Asian Americans unfairly in the admission process.

“We are being discriminated,” he said. “America’s core value is equal opportunity for all Americans … which is being violated by the current admission program.”

Woo said he believes Asian Americans are judged on a higher standardized test curve compared to other ethnic groups and races.

Asian Americans applying to elite universities must score higher on standardized tests than applicants of other ethnicities, Woo said, citing the book “No Longer Separate, Not Yet Equal,” by Princeton sociology professor Thomas Espenshade.

Miller said the University has never done an SAT differential study, but added that he does not see it as compelling evidence for discrimination.

“SATs are part of an application,” Miller said. “The easiest thing to do would be to line up the top 1,500 SAT scores and take those 1,500 students, but that’s not what constitutes a community.”

Miller said he believes every applicant is faced with “a ridiculously high bar” to be admitted, noting that the University’s acceptance rate ranges between 7 and 9 percent.

“The number of spaces in a class hasn’t increased, and the number of applications has soared,” he said.

Miller noted an applicant’s ethnic background is one piece of an application, but it is not the only thing considered.

“People always want to know what weight does ethnicity have in the process, and the answer is it depends,” he said. “Your ethnicity to some degree determines your experiences, but there’s not a common experience among all ethnic groups.”

Thomas Mariadason, a staff attorney at the Educational Equity Program at the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, said his organization has not found evidence of discrimination against Asian Americans in the Ivy League admission process. In fact, Mariadason said, programs like affirmative action benefit Asian Americans and universities.

“Affirmative action programs are a good tool for helping to provide more access and opportunities to many Asian Americans that otherwise don’t fall into realms of privilege and for providing a tremendous amount of diversity for the student body,” he said.

Charlotte Kim ’16 said she felt the admission process was fair to everyone who applied.

“It is definitely true that being of a minority race doesn’t guarantee anything,” she said, adding that she had several minority high school friends who were just as qualified as she was but were not admitted to Brown.

“Affirmative action does bolster some people’s chance of admission,” Kim said. But “in the end, everything works out pretty fairly.”

Topics:
  • Lou

    Why doesn’t the Dean release statistics on SAT scores and other academic factors by race?

    If there is no quota or discrimination, the data would support that. It’s really that simple.

    • aggus

      This Dean is an alum of Brown, and therefore an alum of the open curriculum. He does not understand the discipline of statistics. He does not even understand your question.

      • thatslegitrightthere

        Totally agreed.

  • 4AsianAmericans

    “in the end, everything works out pretty fairly.” – I wonder how Ms Kim came to that conclusion while admitting AA bolsters some people’s chance. But stats by many researches indicate otherwise.

    Totally agree with previous comments that all data should be released and the admission policy must be transparent.

    Please visit https://www.facebook.com/AgainstAA