Writing for Law & Liberty, attorney Mark Pulliam argues that the new SAT adversity score is designed as a way for college admissions officials to continue to use race-based preferences amid all the legal challenges that practice faces:
Since this takeover of college campuses began in earnest during the 1970s, the only significant resistance has come from the U.S. Supreme Court, which in a series of muddled decisions—beginning with Bakke in 1978, continuing with Grutter (2003) and most recently Fisher (2016)—has prohibited public universities from engaging in explicit racial preferences—quota-based affirmative action.
Unfortunately, however, the Justices have deferred to the “expertise” of university administrators, allowing admissions officers to consider race (among other factors) for the purpose of realizing the presumed educational benefits of a “diverse” student body. Applicants’ race is still a significant factor in the admissions process at most schools, but colleges are careful to avoid leaving a paper trail documenting their rigid numerical goals. As a practical matter, at many selective schools less-qualified blacks are routinely admitted over white and Asian candidates with much better grades and test scores in order to meet demographic targets. Sly admissions officers use “holistic” methodologies—giving extra weight to certain applicants’ “special circumstances” and “life experiences”—to circumvent the ban on racial preferences. The transparent objective is artificially to boost the percentage of under-represented groups (such as African-Americans) enrolled, regardless of their qualifications.
At Harvard and other schools, Asian applicants are challenging such sub rosa techniques as de facto race discrimination, and some states (including California and Michigan) have banned state-funded schools from discriminating in admissions due to race. Undaunted, the diversity fraud continues apace, with enormous disparities in the test scores of admitted candidates based on their race. Asians, who would be over-represented in a purely meritocratic admissions process, are hurt most by the reverse discrimination, although the supposed beneficiaries—less-qualified minorities, especially blacks—are also harmed as a result of the “mismatch effect” documented by Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor in their 2012 book, Mismatch. Increasingly, “diversity” in admissions is widely viewed as a barely-concealed artifice for race discrimination.
Thus, when the College Board (which administers the widely-used SAT test) recently unveiled its new “adversity score” to be assigned to all SAT-takers based on the socio-economic characteristics of the students’ schools and neighborhoods, observers were understandably skeptical. …
However the data is derived or weighed, lumping people together based on their zip code resembles nothing so much as the now-banned practice of banks and other financial institutions which rejected loan applicants based solely on where they lived. It was called “redlining,” and civil rights advocates condemned it as discrimination. Consumers applying for credit cards, mortgages, and other types of loans deserve to be judged on their individual merits, not based on their address or the general characteristics of their school, community, or neighbors. No one should be prejudiced by the actual or perceived faults of another—or receive credit for someone else’s actions. Applying to college is no different. …
With “holistic” admissions—corrupted by diversity zealots into a pretext for racial and ethnic preferences—increasingly being challenged as illegal discrimination, and the SAT itself recently exposed as vulnerable to bribery and cheating, it is no wonder that the SJWs running higher education have resorted to new tricks. The College Board’s “adversity score” is obviously designed to serve as a proxy for race and to enable colleges to grant racial preferences (and even to achieve racial quotas) without—wink, wink—looking at the applicants’ race. The seemingly objective “adversity score” provides a patina of neutrality to race-obsessed university admissions officers.
Anthony Carnevale, a former College Board employee now working for Georgetown University, admitted as much: “The purpose is to get to race without using race.” The “adversity score” is, therefore, a scam—a hoax.