Will Harvard apologize for discriminating based on skin color if this is found unconstitutional?

The Supreme Court is pondering the fate of Harvard’s race-based admissions system (see It was okay to discriminate against white people, but maybe it is not okay to discriminate against Asians and What is Harvard’s argument for race-based admissions in the #StopAsianHate age?). From the Bad Guys (TM):

Here’s part of an email from the Harvard president, sent on Halloween:

When Harvard assembles a class of undergraduates, it matters that they come from different social, economic, geographical, racial, and ethnic backgrounds. It matters that they come to our campus with varied academic interests and skill sets. Research and lived experience teach us that each student’s learning experience is enriched by encountering classmates who grew up in different circumstances.

Harvard is not alone in believing that we are more than our test scores and that our unique perspectives bring a wealth of educational benefits to a high-quality educational enterprise.

See if we can guess an ethnic group that is less than its members’ test scores…

The legal battle we have waged, which reaches its apex today, is as important to other colleges and universities, and to society, as it is to us. Educators and scholars, civil rights organizers, historians, and education advocates stand with us. Leaders in business and technology stand with us. Former military officers and the heads of the nation’s service academies stand with us. Their voices—ringing out in amicus briefs—are part of a chorus that has risen across our campus and throughout our country in defense of forty years of legal precedent, as well as the history of the 14th Amendment.

Today, individuals of great skill will argue in favor of our cause inside the highest court in the land.

Mediocre individuals were apparently scheduled to argue against Harvard’s Great Cause.

We now await the final decision of the court with earnest anticipation. Whatever it is, we will honor the law while also remaining true to our values.

Translation of “remaining true to our values”: “We will find a workaround so that we can continue discriminating against these Asian nerds without running afoul of the law.”

This academic bureaucrat is proud of the work that he has done for decades in sorting student and faculty applicants by skin color. Suppose, however, that the Supreme Court rules that the sort-by-skin-color policy is unconstitutional. By inference, then, Harvard and its bureaucrats have been depriving applicants of their constitutional rights to be judged by factors other than skin color. The big question for today: Will the president of Harvard and lesser bureaucrats offer an apology?

Speaking of unconstitutionality and appeals, what happened to the Biden administration’s appeal of Judge Kathryn Mizelle’s finding that the CDC’s mask order was unconstitutional? Joe Biden never apologized for violating Americans’ constitutional rights, I don’t think. The appeal was filed in April (heritage.org). In the meantime, it looks as though Joe Biden actually could legally order Americans to #MaskUpSaveLives. The courts seem to agree that this can be done via the TSA if not the CDC. “Supreme Court leaves TSA mask requirement ruling in place” (The Hill, Halloween):

The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a ruling that allows the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to require mask-wearing on planes, trains and other forms of transport.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found no merit in Corbett’s claim and affirmed the TSA did have the agency to maintain security and safety within the transportation system, including imposing the masking requirement.

Biden has the power to keep us safe and secure! But why didn’t he reimpose the airport-and-airline mask order on November 1 after the Supreme Court failed to intervene? Even if most airline passengers are vaccinated we don’t want people gathering unmasked and breeding a vaccine-resistant superbug that will be deadly to the unvaccinated, as happened with Marek’s disease. Even if Democrats can control the entire United States and force everyone to get accept COVID-19 vaccinated there will still be billions of unvaccinated and/or unboosted folks in poor countries who would be vulnerable to the superbug that we created via our policy of widespread vaccination followed by mass gatherings.

Is Joe Biden following the Science, but waiting until after the election to bring the masks back?

Full post, including comments

It was okay to discriminate against white people, but maybe it is not okay to discriminate against Asians

“In cases challenging affirmative action, court will confront wide-ranging arguments on history, diversity, and the role of race in America” (scotusblog.com):

In 2003, the Supreme Court ruled in Grutter v. Bollinger that universities may consider race in their admissions processes as part of their efforts to achieve diversity on campus. On Oct. 31, the justices will hear oral arguments in a pair of cases asking them to overturn Grutter and outlaw race-based affirmative action in higher education altogether.

The challengers urge the justices to rule that the Constitution and federal civil rights laws bar any consideration of race in college admissions. But the universities at the center of the dispute, as well as their supporters, counter that overruling Grutter would have sweeping effects well beyond university admissions, affecting everything from the performance of U.S. businesses to the practice of medicine in an increasingly diverse society.

Both of the lawsuits were filed in federal court in 2014 by a group called Students for Fair Admissions, which describes itself as “dedicated to defending the right to racial equality in college admissions.” The group was created that same year by Edward Blum, a stockbroker and conservative activist who, though not a lawyer, has backed other prominent lawsuits challenging the consideration of race in undergraduate admissions as well as a challenge to the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act. SFFA says it has more than 20,000 members.

The two universities being challenged are Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. But according to Harvard’s brief, over 40% of all U.S. universities — and 60% of selective universities — consider race in some form during their admissions process. The cases being heard on Monday could affect all of them.

“Consider race” = “discriminate by race” and it was legally okay for decades despite a U.S. Constitution that apparently barred such discrimination, at least for the government and its affiliates. I wonder if we can cut through all of the briefs that have been filed in this case. Can the issues be summarized with the following?

  • It is settled law that discriminating against white people is okay and, in fact, something to be proud of.
  • Asians now wear the “people of color” mantle.
  • It is not okay to discriminate against one subgroup within “people of color” in favor of another subgroup within that victimhood category.
  • Universities are not just discriminating against white people (permissible/legal/praiseworthy), but they’re also discriminating against Asians (impermissible/illegal/deplorable).

Who wants to bet on the outcome of these cases?

The current ruler is on the side of the righteous:

The Biden administration, which filed a “friend of the court” brief supporting the universities, pushes back sharply against SFFA’s suggestion that the universities’ consideration of race as one factor in their admissions programs is inconsistent with the court’s decision in Brown. SFFA’s “persistent attempts to equate this case with Brown trivialize the grievous legal and moral wrongs of segregation,” U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar writes.

The Ivy League schools from which the Supreme Court justices graduated are on the side of the righteous and, in fact, are the most eager and aggressive sorters of applicants by skin color.

So if we think of courts as helping the powerful, this one should go in favor of righteousness (continued racial discrimination).

On the other hand, it is tough to think of a way for the justices to write a decision that would allow continued discrimination against whites (the oppressors) while forbidding discrimination against Asians (successfully established in the victimhood category). The previous decision was absurd: “Court expects that 25 years from now, the use of racial preferences will no longer be necessary to further the interest approved today.” Via this approach to Constitutional law we could say that slavery is permissible right now because we’re in an inflation crisis and high wages are driving up prices, which then drive up wages in a spiral. Since we can’t stop indexing government spending to inflation, the only way to break the spiral is for 25 percent of working-age Americans to be enslaved. “Court expects that 25 years from now, the use of slavery will not longer be necessary to stop the inflation spiral that was launched in 2021.”

Because I am not creative enough to envision how a decision barring discrimination only against Asians could be written, my prediction is that race discrimination by these universities that get taxpayer money will be outlawed.

A Harvard job ad for an astronomy professor requires “Statement describing efforts to encourage diversity, inclusion, and belonging, including past, current, and anticipated future contributions in these areas” and “Demonstrated strong commitment to teaching, advising, and broadening institutional diversity is desired.”

Full post, including comments

Too elite to fail at NYU

Some years ago I spoke with a mathematician who earned a Ph.D. at Florida State University and went on to become a professor at Vanderbilt. “At FSU,” she said, “I taught calculus and about a third of the students didn’t do the homework, didn’t learn any calculus, expected to fail the class, and did fail the class.” No surprise considering the football obsession of FSU! (And when are they going to change the name of the team to something other than “Seminoles”? The only way to show that one is not prejudiced against Native Americans is to erase all references to Native Americans while keeping what used to be their land.)

How was Vanderbilt different? “The students behaved exactly the same as at FSU,” she responded. “About one third of them did nothing and learned nothing. So I failed them.” What happened next? “Every dean at the university descended on my office to explain that Vanderbilt students were not failures and that it was not possible to fail one third of the class, even if they had learned no calculus.”

NYU has an elite price, at least. Let’s check out “At N.Y.U., Students Were Failing Organic Chemistry. Who Was to Blame?” (NYT):

In the field of organic chemistry, Maitland Jones Jr. has a storied reputation. He taught the subject for decades, first at Princeton and then at New York University, and wrote an influential textbook. He received awards for his teaching, as well as recognition as one of N.Y.U.’s coolest professors.

But last spring, as the campus emerged from pandemic restrictions, 82 of his 350 students signed a petition against him.

Students said the high-stakes course — notorious for ending many a dream of medical school — was too hard, blaming Dr. Jones for their poor test scores.

Good news for those who say that an 80-year-old is not sharp enough to be president of the USA:

Dr. Jones, 84, is known for changing the way the subject is taught. In addition to writing the 1,300-page textbook “Organic Chemistry,” now in its fifth edition, he pioneered a new method of instruction that relied less on rote memorization and more on problem solving.

What did the ex-professor notice about kids today?

“Students were misreading exam questions at an astonishing rate,” he wrote in a grievance to the university, protesting his termination. Grades fell even as he reduced the difficulty of his exams.

The problem was exacerbated by the pandemic, he said. “In the last two years, they fell off a cliff,” he wrote. “We now see single digit scores and even zeros.”

After several years of Covid learning loss, the students not only didn’t study, they didn’t seem to know how to study, Dr. Jones said.

MIT and Harvard Medical Students are still amazingly gifted, in my experience, but they definitely did not learn as much during coronapanic. In our ground school class we use the FAA knowledge test to verify mastery of the subject and students who go through the YouTube+Zoom version score about 10 points lower (out of 100) compared to students who sit in a classroom for three days straight.

(Don’t read this as a defense of Professor Jones at NYU and the low grades that he gave on exams. I am against the entire system that prevails in the U.S. under which professors grade their own students. In my view, professors should teach and a neutral evaluator should grade, as is done with the Microsoft and Cisco certifications as well as with the granting of FAA certificates. There is an unavoidable bias when a teacher grades his/her/zir/their own students: “This student appears to have learned nothing, but I am the smartest person in the world and the student sat through my lectures, which means he/she/ze/they must have learned a lot even if the exam does not reflect that. B+”)


Full post, including comments

College grades based on mask compliance

From a UCLA professor:

Let’s dig in….

  • “300 student mandatory in-person lecture”; why is the mass lecture (“live video”) still a cornerstone for college teaching? It didn’t work well 50 years ago and now the students are scrolling social media on their phones.
  • “I’m the sole care provider for my child.” -> “I expected to get paid a lot more in the California family courts than in the university halls”? (a success story from someone who didn’t need a Ph.D. or any pronouns to make bank)
  • “I’m giving extra credit to those who mask up”; how can this work in a 300-student class? If a student is masked, how does the professor (she/her) identify him/her/zir/them with sufficient particularity to add a note to the grade book?

A comment on the above:

Here’s an interesting one from the other coast… Amherst College’s “Updated policy: Masking in Classrooms”:

Prior to October 17, faculty members will conduct an anonymous survey of their classes, either by collecting handwritten (no names!) responses to the question, “Should masks be required in this class?” or by distributing a survey based on this template. … If anyone in the class, including the instructor, wants to continue with masking, then masks will be required.

We are informed that the hallmark of a stupid person and/or MAGA Trump supporter is doing his/her/zir/their own research. Intelligent Americans follow the Science and defer to expert advice. Amherst College should have a senior Covidcrat interpreting the CDC runes and issuing edicts. Instead, the college is going to let the mob decide! How is that different than Science-denying legislators in Florida voting to forbid public school districts from ordering children to wear masks?

Here’s a good image for university Covidcrats to use:

Screen capture in case the Ministry of Truth deletes this at some point:

Full post, including comments

Should we start a $36.6 million GoFundMe for Oberlin College?

From the Daily Mail:

Woke institution Oberlin College has finally paid out the full $36.5 million it owes an Ohio bakery it defamed with false racism claims, one week after the store owners begged college officials to pay up.

The liberal arts college had been ordered to pay after jurors ruled that it had, in fact, defamed Gibson’s Bakery by blasting the institution as racist after a storeowner chased down three black students who stole from the business in November 2016.

With legal fees and interest, the amount rose to over $36.5 million.

Oberlin College had tried to appeal the case to the Ohio Supreme Court, which announced on August 30 it would not take up the issue.

Finally, in a statement on Thursday, the college announced it ‘has initiated payment in full of the $36.59 million judgment in the Gibson’s Bakery case and is awaiting payment information from the plaintiffs.

Former Oberlin dean of students Meredith Raimondo led the woke mob’s attacks against Gibson’s, and even turned up outside the business to screech accusations while toting a bullhorn.

While named as a defendant in the suit, she won’t have to pony up any of the cash.

And despite the disgrace she heaped on her former employer, Raimondo has now landed a cozy job at Oglethorpe Liberal Arts College in Atlanta, and has yet to speak over her role in the costly scandal.

Who will join me in starting a GoFundMe for Oberlin?

Let’s see what’s important to Oberlin right now. From the Mission and Values page:


Full post, including comments

Following the Science at Columbia University

Prepping for a deposition last month in an inter partes review, a guy joined the call who is in his first year at Columbia University’s Law School (he knows enough about patents that it would make more sense for him to be teaching at Columbia, but that’s irrelevant for our purposes). Of course, after asking whether his student loans have already been canceled, I asked what percent of the righteous Ivy Leaguers were wearing masks in class. “100 percent,” he responded. “It’s required for at least the first few weeks of the semester.” Are the Scientists wearing N95 masks? “Cloth masks aren’t allowed, but you don’t need an N95 mask. A surgical mask is okay.”

In “COVID-19 Precautions for Fall 2022”, Columbia says “Students are required to be vaccinated” and “Masking will be required everywhere indoors when the COVID-19 risk is high”, but apparently this is an add-on idea that somehow the first part of the semester is the riskiest (students will get cleaner every day that they spend in the respiratory-virus-free environment of Manhattan).

What is our young colleague going to learn? Let’s check in at

They have a statement on the Supreme Court’s latest outrage:

This opinion is a devastating setback for the long-term struggle for sex equality, bodily autonomy, civil rights, and basic dignity for all. While we do not expect progress to be linear, we do expect our highest court to serve as gatekeeper to the foundational values in which our nation is rooted—equality, liberty, dignity, justice—rather than using their power to dismantle well established constitutional norms, causing the pain and suffering of millions in its wake.

Restrictions on abortion are a fundamental equality issue because: (1) Abortion is singled out for more onerous treatment than other medical procedures that carry similar or greater risks; (2) Restrictions further perpetuate harmful and discriminatory gender stereotypes that limit equal participation in society; …

(Is there a medical procedure that carries greater risks to a 33-week-old baby than abortion care (perfectly legal at all stages of pregnancy in Maskachusetts)?)

What if he wants to save $25,000 on his third year? The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion page:

The Fellowship in Support of Careers in Racial and Social Justice, provides a $25,000 grant in the fall of the 3L year to J.D. students who intend to pursue racial justice legal work after graduation and/or students of color who intend to pursue other social justice legal work after graduation.

So the tax-exempt federally-funded institution will allocate these $25,000 grants according to race and/or willingness to follow Justin Trudeau’s example. This has to be legal/Constitutional since the Law School knows everything about law.

Separately, here’s an ad posted within our local Costco:

“Air is life. Make it perfect.” Columbia Law School seems to share this perspective. Make air perfect by adding a saliva-soaked mask in front of your face!

Full post, including comments

A glimpse into the world of Ivy League humanities

A very loose companion to my own “Women in Science” piece (“Pursuing science as a career seems so irrational that one wonders why any young American would do it.”)… an article by an English professor who was fired (“denied tenure”) at Yale:

what disgusted me the most was not the intellectual corruption. It was the careerism. It was the sense that all of this—all the posturing, all the position-taking—was nothing more than a professional game. The goal was advancement, not truth. The worst mistake was to think for yourself. People said things that they obviously didn’t believe, or wouldn’t have believed if they had bothered to subject them to the test of their own experience—that language is incapable of making meaning, that the self is a construct—but that the climate forced them to avow. Students stuck their fingers in the air to see which way the theoretical winds were blowing, designing their dissertations to catch the swell of the latest trend.

I managed to publish a couple of articles and get some decent recommendations from professors over 50, and when I ventured on the job market, the year I finished my degree, I was offered interviews at five institutions (out of the 20 to which I applied). Four were lower-tier places—Auburn, the University of Montana, Georgia State, and Cal State Los Angeles—and the fifth was Yale. The explanation of this strange assortment is that Yale’s was still a very conservative department—meaning, it was still run by people who shared my intellectual values. Being able to write, for example, was not considered a liability.

After nine years in graduate school, uncertain the entire time about my future, I had been granted a new lease on my professional life. Given Yale’s generous 10-year timeline, plus leaves of absence in the fourth and seventh years, I should’ve been able to make it work: publish, get another job, make it to Castle Tenure.

For those getting ready to pony up tuition, room, and board at a research university:

The problem with spending time with students, or on students, or writing book reviews or essays, is that none of those activities do anything for you professionally. Academics are rewarded for one thing and one thing only: research. Scholarly publication. Nothing else counts; anything else is a step toward professional suicide.

After he can’t get tenure at Yale?

… 39 schools and 46 applications. Prestigious universities, public and private; non-prestigious universities, public and private; Canadian universities; liberal arts colleges. Institutions in the Northeast, the Midwest, the South, the West, and north of the border; schools urban, suburban, and rural. I would’ve gone just about anywhere. But with all that work and all that hope, I got a total of five interviews, two callbacks (the final stage in the hiring process), and zero offers.

At this point he’s presumably mid-40s, a time when an intelligent hard-working person is reaching the zenith of his/her/zir/their career prestige, and unemployable within his field.

I recommend this essay if you know anyone who is considering investing in a Ph.D.!

Finally, this seems like a good time for me to remind everyone that the cafeteria staff at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh needs to remind the academic geniuses that pecan pie contains nuts:

Full post, including comments

Mighty brains of academia and non-profit figure out why Americans are homeless

There is a new book from some of America’s smartest people. First, the credentials…

GREGG COLBURN is an assistant professor of real estate at the University of Washington’s College of Built Environments. … Gregg holds a PhD and an MSW from the University of Minnesota and an MBA from Northwestern University. … Gregg is also a member of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Family Homelessness Evaluation Committee and co-chair of the University of Washington’s Homelessness Research Initiative.

CLAYTON PAGE ALDERN is a neuroscientist turned journalist and data scientist based in Seattle. … A Rhodes scholar and a Reynolds Journalism Institute fellow, he holds a master’s in neuroscience and a master’s in public policy from the University of Oxford. He is also a research affiliate at the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology at the University of Washington.

What have these mighty brains learned? From Homelessness is a Housing Problem:

the researchers illustrate how absolute rent levels and rental vacancy rates are associated with regional rates of homelessness.

The higher the rent, the higher the rate of people who can’t afford the rent:

In other words, we aren’t wealthy enough to build and maintain the housing to which we believe ourselves entitled.

Meanwhile, more than 200,000 people come over the southern border every month to claim asylum (US CBP stats) and common decency demands that, regardless of whether any can or do work, all be provided with reasonable quality housing. According to a book that I recently finished, The Swamp, there may be a limit to how many of these newcomers can come to South Florida. From a legal point of view, we can’t keep robbing the federally-protected Everglades of water. Our abuse of the animals who live there has some limits.

From a newspaper that passionately advocates for expanded low-skill immigration… “The Housing Shortage Isn’t Just a Coastal Crisis Anymore” (NYT, July 14):

What once seemed a blue-state coastal problem has increasingly become a national one, with consequences for the quality of life of American families, the health of the national economy and the politics of housing construction.

Freddie Mac has estimated that the nation is short 3.8 million housing units to keep up with household formation.

It is not an expanding population due to immigration that drives up prices in an Econ 101 supply and demand curve intersection, but rather inequality:

Other forces like widening income inequality also worsen housing affordability, said Chris Herbert, managing director of the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. That’s because more higher-income households compete for limited housing (prompting builders to build high-end homes).

Our brightest minds are working on this:

The Biden administration also released a long list of ideas this spring for boosting housing supply.

The word “immigration” does not occur in this article.


Full post, including comments

The grading curve at Harvard University

A friend was considering enrolling his high schoolers in a Harvard economics class. It costs a modest $7,000 per student. What does one receive in return? An A or a B, unless one happens to be in the bottom 10th percentile (source):

(The idea of grading on a curve is anathema to flight instructors, incidentally. At least in theory, everyone should be able to achieve proficiency and graduate with a decent grade. If everyone in a class meets the A standard, why can’t everyone in the class receive an A?)

Full post, including comments

Science: requiring SAT scores both decreases and increases diversity at a university

From the haters at Fox News… “Top DEI staff at public universities pocket massive salaries as experts question motives of initiatives”:

A review of salary data shows that the universities of Michigan, Maryland, Virginia and Illinois, plus Virginia Tech, boast some of the highest-paid DEI staffers at public universities, a Fox News review found. These institutions’ top diversity employees earn salaries ranging from $329,000 to $430,000 – vastly eclipsing the average pay for the schools’ full-time tenured professors.

Fox implicitly considers Comparative Victimhood to be simpler than Quantum Electrodynamics and, therefore, it is not reasonable for a diversity bureaucrat to get paid 5X what a young Physics professor earns (see AIP salary calculator).

But what if Fox is wrong(!). From state-sponsored NPR in 2018… “Study: Colleges That Ditch The SAT And ACT Can Enhance Diversity”:

Colleges that have gone “test optional” enroll — and graduate — a higher proportion of low-income and first generation-students, and more students from diverse backgrounds, the researchers found in the study

In short, Science proves that dispensing with the SAT leads to more diversity.

What if we head over to a school where you can’t spit in the hallways without hitting a Scientist? “We are reinstating our SAT/ACT requirement for future admissions cycles in order to help us continue to build a diverse and talented MIT” (2022):

Within our office, we have a dedicated research and analysis team that continuously studies our processes, outcomes, and criteria …. not having SATs/ACT scores to consider tends to raise socioeconomic barriers to demonstrating readiness for our education,⁠ relative to having them, given these other inequalities

There are some helpful hashtags, including #diversity:

When we combine NPR and MIT we find that Science proves that requiring the SAT reduces diversity and also that requiring the SAT increases diversity. It is therefore not unreasonable for someone tasked with applying this Science to earn $430,000 per year at a taxpayer-funded state university.

Full post, including comments