Wednesday, June 13, 2012

And Yet Somehow They'll Survive

Wesleyan University has made some waves by announcing it is abandoning need-blind admission. In effect, this means it will give some amount of preference towards wealthier applicants (how much is probably indeterminate). In other words, affirmative action for rich kids.

Now a lot of you will be up in arms about how unfair this is to students of lower socio-economic backgrounds. But I think we need to look to another set of victims: the wealthy students themselves. As beneficiaries of affirmative action, we have to ask -- are they mismatched above their level? Does giving them special preferences stigmatize them, creating the soft bigotry of low expectations? I mean, even wealthy students who could get in without the "boost" are tainted by the policy -- everyone will be left wondering if they got in on the strength of their merit or their bank account.

These are the questions precisely no one will be asking, because the students are not racial minorities and thus there is no need to concern-troll about them. But since I'm guessing that, given the resources and knowledge base available to these applicants, they don't see attending Wesleyan as an exercise in self-sabotage -- well, maybe it isn't so bad for other people who benefit from affirmative action but aren't already advantaged?

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