Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Do as we say, not as you vote 

So a business executive agrees to be on the board of regents of a public university. He rises to the level of board chairman. In reading the law of the state, he believes the university is violating a public referendum regarding admissions, but is unable to get a majority of the board to agree. He then decides to write an article (free registration required) for a business publication in which he states that university's administrators "have been manipulating the admissions system and, I believe, thwarting the law." The result has been a system that works against student success.
The university is saying it is tilting the balance in favor of disadvantaged students as opposed to merely engaging in racial discrimination. Whatever the truth of that assertion, any good that comes from giving disadvantaged kids a leg up is undone if the tilting goes too far. It goes too far when kids who struggled with eighth-grade math have to compete with kids who aced advanced-placement calculus.
And what does he get for his trouble? A public censure by the board he chairs.

Today's Wall Street Journal (subscribers only) editorializes that the problem of declining minority enrollment misses the wider point:
Enrollment of "underrepresented minorities" did fall off at Berkeley after Prop 209 passed, but it rose at other campuses within the UC system, such as Riverside, Irvine, Santa Cruz and elsewhere. By 2002 more of these minorities were attending University of California institutions than before the referendum passed. Moreover, because minority students are now choosing schools suited to their academic abilities, they are better able to compete and less likely to drop out.

Mr. Moores's efforts to expose Berkeley deserve praise, and the attempt by his colleagues to silence him is all too typical of the closed liberal mind. Racial bean counters are using taxpayer dollars to circumvent the law and the will of the voters. And in the name of political correctness, they're also doing a disservice to many college-bound minorities.