Discrimination at Stanford, Then and Now

Stanford has issued a 75-page report on its discrimination against Jews in the 1950s. The report resulted in an apology for its past practices by University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne.

In a terrific Minding the Campus article, John Rosenberg, who writes at Discriminations, asks how much things at Stanford have really changed:

Someone should ask him why he believes the policy of restricting the number of Jews was wrong. Does he really believe in the principle that administrators in the 1950s violated, that all applicants should be treated “paying no attention” to race, ethnicity, or religion? That, of course, would seem to be impossible, since Stanford has long practiced affirmative action, i.e., raising and lowering the standard of admissions by race and ethnicity in order to promote diversity, not unlike the “balance” President Sterling and Rixford Snyder sought in the 1950s.

Stanford’s current undergraduate student body is 25% Asian and only 28% white (the most “underrepresented” group there). … Stanford is on record again and again defending preferential treatment in admissions (its brief in the Harvard/University of North Carolina case now before the Supreme Court is here), and it appears to practice what it preaches by taking race and ethnicity into account. Again, if it is fine to deny admission to some Asian and white applicants who would have been admitted had Stanford “paid no attention” to their race or ethnicity, what exactly was “wrong” with Stanford’s old practice of restricting the number of Jews? What principle did it violate that is not also violated by today’s practice?

The recent Stanford report is impressive, but it is not without blind spots. The most glaring is its failure to acknowledge that its policy of restricting Jews is more than similar to the racially and ethnically discriminatory policies of Stanford and similar institutions today; it is virtually identical. The old descriptions and defenses—creating “balance,” judging each candidate individually, denying quotas—are still very much in use. In fact, Rixford Snyder, Frederic Glover, and Wallace Sterling should be recognized as creating Stanford’s first affirmative action program—preferential treatment for non-Jewish applicants.

I wonder, too, to what extent Stanford is still discriminating against Jews. They are white, aren’t they?

Rosenberg points out that in the 1950s, Stanford’s administration lied–they claimed they weren’t discriminating against Jews, that they had no quotas, and all applicants were treated equally. Now, Stanford’s discrimination is out and proud, with “diversity” policies allocating places by race:

Again, President Tessier-Lavigne, what exactly was wrong with Stanford’s then-stated policy of “paying no attention” to such things as race or religion and your predecessor Wallace Sterling’s violation of it? His violation, in fact, reveals his recognition of the power of colorblind non-discrimination; he did not want Stanford to be seen violating it. Today’s Stanford and its peers, however, not only violate that principle in practice but have rejected the principle as well.

In that respect, things have gone downhill since the 1950s.

Rosenberg’s piece, at the link, contains much more that is of interest.

STEVE adds—Stanford is having a really bad week:

‘Stanford Hates Fun’: Students Revolt After Tree Mascot Suspension

For nearly 50 years, students at Stanford University have risen to the challenge of playing the Tree, the popular, unofficial school mascot.

In its long, storied history, the Tree, which dons a towering leafy costume, has been sidelined for public drunkenness and ejected from a basketball game for rowdiness. The mascot has survived kidnapping and imprisonment by students from rival schools.

During the Oct. 22 homecoming weekend football game, the 44th Stanford Tree got axed.

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