John Leo On Affirmative Action College Grades: “Grades Will Be Given Out By Race And Ethnicity”

From Minding the Campus:

AN AMAZING DIVERSITY PLAN AT MADISON

JOHN LEO JULY 17, 2014 46 COMMENTS

A remarkable article on the University of Wisconsin (Madison) appeared yesterday on the John William Pope Center site. In it, UW economics professor W. Lee Hansen writes about a comprehensive diversity plan prepared for the already diversity-obsessed campus. The report, thousands of words long, is mostly eye-glazing diversity babble, filled with terms like “compositional diversity,” “critical mass,” “equity mindedness,” “deficit-mindedness,” “foundational differences,” “representational equity” and “excellence,” a previously normal noun that suffers the loss of all meaning when printed within three words of any diversity term.

But Professor Hansen noticed one very important line in the report that the faculty senate must have missed when it approved this text: a call for “proportional participation of historically underrepresented racial-ethnic groups at all levels of an institution, including high-status special programs, high-demand majors, and in the distribution of grades.” So “representational equity” means quotas at all levels. And let’s put that last one in caps: GRADES WILL BE GIVEN OUT BY RACE AND ETHNICITY.

Professor Hansen writes: “Professors, instead of just awarding the grade that each student earns, would apparently have to adjust them so that academically weaker, ‘underrepresented racial/ethnic’ students perform at the same level and receive the same grades as academically stronger students.

“At the very least, this means even greater expenditures on special tutoring for weaker targeted minority students. It is also likely to trigger a new outbreak of grade inflation, as professors find out that they can avoid trouble over ‘inequitable’ grade distributions by giving every student a high grade.”

If they gave out grades specifically by race — e.g., “D’Qnisha, you get a Black A- for your team project with Lisa, who gets an Asian C+” — then grades would still be pretty good at discriminating among individuals within races. But since these kinds of projects are rationalized not as acknowledging the different levels of performance among the races, but as rooting out the White Racism infesting the minds of U. of Wisconsin at Madison professors, well, then the usual outcome is: A’s for everybody!