Committee of 100 Calls for Greater Transparency in College Admissions Criteria

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Contact: Frank H. Wu, President
media@committee100.org or 212-371-6565

 

 

Committee of 100 Calls for Greater Transparency in College Admissions Criteria

Also Advocates for Increased Diversity on College Admissions Committees

 

(New York, NY, August 1, 2018) – In the ongoing 2014 lawsuit by Students for Fair Admission (SFFA) against Harvard University, alleging discrimination by Harvard against Asian American applicants, the Committee of 100 (C100) is disturbed by some of the initial discovery findings and calls on Harvard and other top colleges to be fully transparent in their admissions criteria so as to dispel any notions of discrimination in student selection on the basis of race. C100 also urges these same colleges to increase the diversity of their admissions office staff and increase the representation of Asian Americans on these decision-making bodies.

In the SFAA case against Harvard, whether there is in fact an intended policy of discrimination against Asian American applicants at Harvard will be adjudicated in the courts in October. The discovery process thus far, however, has revealed some disturbing initial assessments. On the plaintiff’s end, a statistical analysis conducted of 160,000 student files in the last 6 years of Harvard’s admissions revealed that Asian American applicants outranked all other racial groups on academic achievement (grades and test scores) and extracurricular activities, but consistently scored the lowest of all racial groups in the personal qualities category (including such qualities like “likability”, “helpfulness”, and “courage”). Despite personal interviewers, and teachers and guidance counselors who rated Asian Americans on par with white applicants in personal qualities, Harvard admissions officers – many of whom have never met the applicants – subsequently rated these same Asian Americans lowest in this category. The reasons for this discrepancy in personality scores are currently unknown to the public.

In 2013, Harvard’s own in-house research division, the Office of Institutional Research (OIR), conducted an investigation into Harvard’s treatment of Asian Americans and found that among non-athlete, non-legacy applicants, Asian Americans materially outperformed or performed on par with white applicants in every category except in the personal rating category, and yet were admitted at lower rates than whites every year over a ten-year period. Harvard has deemed this OIR study “incomplete, preliminary and based on limited inputs.’ Harvard’s own expert analysis in the current case, using the same data as SFFA but a different methodology, claims no evidence of discrimination against Asian American applicants, but the university has refused to disclose details for how their admissions officers rate personal qualities and overall scores. That Harvard has further filed a motion to seal any relevant information that may shed light on its evaluation procedures cannot help but fuel suspicions that there is some kind of hidden systemic bias against Asian Americans. To prove conclusively that it does not in fact discriminate against Asian Americans or anyone else, Harvard should be transparent and forthcoming about the criteria it uses to evaluate applications. “C100 strongly supports the inclusion of historically disadvantaged and underrepresented groups in higher education,” says Frank H. Wu, President of C100. “Full transparency in admissions criteria can be a first step towards achieving these goals of diversity and inclusion.”

This case is especially painful for many Asian Americans because the across the board low personal ratings of Asian American applicants appear to suggest that Asian Americans have less desirable personal qualities, that they are somehow less likable or less helpful than other applicants, and hearken back to anti-Asian stereotypes of being perpetually different, of being less American. Charlie Woo, Public Policy Engagement Chair for C100, notes, “Asian Americans, like all Americans, wish to be treated as individuals with their own unique life experiences, goals and dreams, and not discriminated against on the basis of their race or ethnicity.”

Claims of anti-Asian discrimination in top college admissions dates back to the 1980s and are not just unique to Harvard. The same transparency, clarity and accountability that is being asked of Harvard should apply to other top colleges and universities. Secrecy only serves to maintain unequal and potentially discriminatory systems of review and decision-making and compromise the integrity of the entire higher education system.

In addition to transparency on admissions criteria, C100 further calls upon these same colleges and universities to increase the diversity of their admissions office staff and increase the representation of Asian Americans on these decision-making bodies. Biases towards one group or against another tend to be reinforced when there is homogeneity. “The possibility that implicit bias – preconceptions and assumptions about others based on long-held cultural and racial stereotypes – may play a significant role in college admissions, that admissions officers will rate more highly and choose those who are more like themselves, is very real and should be looked at with greater scrutiny,” Wu noted. “A diverse admissions staff will ensure that a variety of views and life experiences are represented in decision-making bodies, which in turn will help ensure a more holistic review process and a fairer and more inclusive outcome.”


The Committee of 100 is an international, non-partisan leadership organization of prominent Chinese Americans in business, government, academia, and the arts. For over 25 years, the Committee has been committed to a dual mission of promoting the full participation of Chinese Americans in all fields of American life, and encouraging constructive relations between the peoples of the United States and Greater China. www.committee100.org

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联络人:吴华扬, 百人会会长
media@committee100.org 或 212-371-6565

 

 

 

百人会呼吁美国大学加强其录取标准透明度

并敦促增强大学招生部门评审人员多元性

 

(美国纽约州纽约市,2018年8月1日) — 在2014年非盈利组织“学生公平录取 (SFFA)”起诉哈佛大学歧视亚裔美国申请者的案件中,百人会对取证过程中的发现表示困惑不安,并敦促哈佛大学及其他顶尖学府尽量将录取标准透明化,以消除其录取过程给人带来的种族偏见之感觉。百人会还敦促增强这类学府招生部门评审人员的多元性,并增加在这类决策机构中亚裔美国人的代表性。

“学生公平录取”组织起诉哈佛大学的案例将在10月开审,法院届时将裁定哈佛大学是否故意歧视亚裔学生。该案件取证过程至今的发现令人颇感不安。原告方对过去6年内的16万学生申请档案进行了统计分析,发现亚裔美国申请者在学术成果(绩点和考试成绩)以及课外活动领域的表现均超过其他族裔,但在个人品质领域(包括“招人喜爱”、“乐于助人”和“勇气”等品格)获得的评分却在所有族裔中最低。尽管个人面试员、老师和辅导员们均表示亚裔美国申请者和白人申请者在个人品质方面不相上下,但哈佛的招生评审员们却在绝大多数与申请者素未谋面的情况下,在品格方面为他们打了最低分。造成在个人品质方面分数差异如此之大的原因目前还无从知晓。

2013年,哈佛大学附属研究机构——“院校研究办公室(OIR)”的一项调查发现,在非体育生和非传承生申请者中,亚裔学生除个人品德方面的评分外,其他方面的评分均超过白人学生或与之旗鼓相当,但十年内的录取率均低于白人申请者。哈佛大学认为“院校研究办公室”的研究是“不完善、仅为初步研究且基于有限的证据”的。哈佛大学的专家使用与“学生公平录取”组织相同的数据,但采取不同的分析方法,得出对亚裔学生没有歧视的结论,但哈佛大学拒绝公开招生评审员对个人品质的打分方法和所得总分的计算方法。哈佛大学更申请法院命令封锁相关信息,此举加深了我们对哈佛大学对亚裔学生存在系统性偏见的怀疑。哈佛大学应该尽量透明公开其评分标准,以证明其未在录取环节中歧视亚裔或其他族裔。“百人会强烈支持高等教育容纳历史性弱势及代表性不足的群体,”百人会会长吴华扬表示,“而更加透明的录取标准是我们实现多元化与接纳少数群体的第一步。”

此案于亚裔美国人来说尤为痛苦,因为亚裔学生个人品德方面的全面低分,似乎在暗示亚裔美国人群体具有不太理想的品质,与其他族裔申请者相比,他们不受喜爱或不乐于助人;这与长期存在的反亚裔刻板印象不谋而合,这些刻板印象认为亚裔美国人不够“美国”,是“永远的外来人”。 百人会公共政策委员会主席胡泽群表示:“亚裔美国人,与其他所有美国人一样,同样期待被视为拥有独特的经历、目标与梦想的个体,而非因种族或民族而受到歧视。”

对顶尖学府歧视亚裔学生的怀疑可以追溯到1980年代,哈佛大学的事件并非个案。我们对哈佛大学提出的透明、清晰和可靠的录取标准要求同样适用于其他顶尖学府。保密只会维持不公的现状,无法消除在审查与决策阶段可能出现的系统性歧视,这将会伤害整个高等教育系统的公正性。

除透明化录取标准之外,百人会还敦促增强这类学府招生部门评审人员的多元性,并增加在这类决策机构中亚裔美国人的代表性。单一化会加剧一个族群对另一个的偏见。“隐性偏见是一种长期根植于文化中、对他人抱有的先入为主的假设和种族偏见。这种偏见可能会严重影响大学的录取决定,因为招生部门会倾向于选择更像他们自身的学生,我们应该更仔细审查这种可能性,”吴华扬补充道。“一个更多元的招生部门将会确保不同的观点和生活经历都会被考虑,使评审过程更加全面与完善,使录取结果更加公平与包容。”


百人会是一个由杰出美国华人组成的国际性、非党派团体,成员来自商界、政界、学术、和文艺界。成立超过二十五年来,百人会一直致力于其两大使命,推动美国华人在美国社会各领域的全面参与,促进美国与大中华地区人民之间的建设性关系。更多信息: www.committee100.org.

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