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College rejection not solved by a lawsuit

The Center for Individual Rights should stop trying to entice college applicants into suing schools that do not admit them.
The CIR, a conservative nonprofit legal firm, has been advertising free handbooks aimed at college students, which outline ways in which colleges could be interpreted to be violating the law. If a student is displeased with an admissions decision, the CIR recommends a lawsuit if their case falls within certain guidelines — in particular if the school does something called “indexing,” a system in which the college or university adds a certain number of points to minority applicants that it does not give to nonminorities.
The CIR bases its case on a misguided belief. The CIR seems to believe that the United States operates completely equally for all students. This is simply not true. Minority students are still much more likely to go to substandard schools and to grow up in an environment that makes learning difficult. Indexing in some cases gives students with a lot of potential the chance to take advantage of it.
Additionally, the CIR’s complaints are interesting for what they do not focus on. For instance, the “elite” colleges on which they focus almost all favor a different group: the children of alumni and legacies. Apparently, favoring wealthy legacies is not a problem for the CIR, but favoring minorities who have faced incredible adversity is horrible.
The biggest problem with the CIR’s case is that there is little to no evidence that indexing allows nonqualified individuals to attend prestigious universities. In general, it is used as a tiebreaker. If there is a nonminority applicant who has equivalent academic scores with a minority applicant, a college is more likely to select the minority applicant. While this might be bothersome to some, it is a small price to pay for a system that corrects the injustices all minorities experience. Minorities still constantly face discrimination in almost every aspect of daily life. A very small boost in minority college admissions is a step in the right — not the wrong — direction.
Finally, encouraging students to sue colleges that reject them is a poor idea. It is likely to create situations in which students only apply to one college, thinking they will just sue if they are rejected. There are only so many spaces at Harvard, and there are too many 4.0 students for every single one to get in.
Because the University does not use a racially indexed system, the CIR’s propaganda is not much of a concern here. The admissions department does use a mathematical formula, but it is based entirely on academic performance. If any students apply by Dec. 15 and their ACT or SAT scores, class rank and class schedule add up to a certain number, they are guaranteed admission. Race plays no factor.
Although the University does not use racial indexing, those colleges that do should not be condemned. While in some cases indexing may lead to unfortunate outcomes, in general it is a good system. Unqualified students of any race should not be admitted to college. When there is a choice between a white student with a 1600 SAT score and a 4.0, and a black student with a 1600 and a 4.0, there is nothing wrong with selecting the black student.

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