- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 26, 2018

You’ve heard of the glass ceiling, but apparently there’s also a ceiling preventing qualified Asian-American students from getting into elite universities.

That’s according to a study published by the Center for Equal Opportunity, “Too Many Asians: Affirmative Discrimination in Elite College Admissions,” which found that Asian-American students are underrepresented at elite institutions that use racial preferences in admissions, like Harvard and MIT.

Linda Chavez, founder and chairman of the Center for Equal Opportunity, said the study underscores the need to end race-based admissions.

“Too many Asian Americans applying to elite schools are discriminated against on account of their race,” Ms. Chavez said in a statement. “That is the message of our new study, and it is past time that schools quit the morally dubious means of using race or ethnicity as ‘a factor’ in selecting their student bodies.”

The study looked at the Asian-American student populations at three universities ranked in the top 10 of the U.S. News & World Report college rankings: Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the California Institute of Technology.

Of the three, Caltech is the only school that does not have an affirmative action policy in place, because California voters banned the practice of race-based admissions in 1996 with the passage of Proposition 209.

At the time of the proposition’s passage, Asian-American students made up just under 30 percent of the student bodies at MIT and Caltech, and about 20 percent of the student body at Harvard. But since then, Asian-American admissions have plateaued at the two schools with affirmative action, despite the fact that the Asian-American population has nearly tripled over that span.

Now, that demographic accounts for more than 40 percent of all students at Caltech, but only 26 percent of all MIT students and 17 percent of all Harvard students.

Asian-Americans have come to believe that there is a “ceiling” on students of their race at elite universities, according to the study.

“This ceiling, in their view, limits the number of seats for which Asian American applicants may compete, and thus denies entry to Asian Americans who otherwise would be admitted, but for the fact they are of the ‘wrong race,’” the study reads.

Some Asian-Americans have even referred to themselves as “the new Jews,” referring to the limit quotas on Jewish students that persisted at many universities until the latter half of the 20th century.

“The number of Asian Americans at elite schools has risen dramatically, and Asian Americans are ‘overrepresented’ relative to their numbers in the U.S. population,” the study reads. “Yet, as before with the Ivy League’s treatment of Jewish students, certain elite schools will only admit some Asian American applicants, but not too many.”

The Center for Equal Opportunity study comes as lawsuits have sought to end race-based admissions at Harvard.

Students for Fair Admissions, whose members include Asian-American students who were denied admission to Harvard, filed a lawsuit against the university in 2014. Plaintiffs allege the school intentionally discriminates against Asian-American students in admissions.

The Supreme Court said affirmative action in constitutional in the 1978 decision Regents of the University of California v. Bakke. The court upheld that ruling most recently in the 2016 decision Fisher v. the University of Texas at Austin.

Terry Eastland, a senior fellow at the Center for Equal Opportunity, said affirmative action was supposed to be only a temporary remedy to achieve greater racial equality.

“It’s disappointing that preferences persist,” Mr. Eastland said in a statement. “They were always advertised as a ‘temporary’ necessity. The Bakke case that greenlighted racial preferences was rendered in 1978. Today is 2018. That’s 40 years of temporariness.”

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