AUG. 6, 2017, New York Times
To the Editor:
Re "U.S. Rights Unit Shifts to Study Antiwhite Bias" (front page, Aug. 2):
With the Justice Department moving to challenge affirmative action in college
admissions, we would do well to be mindful of important ways in which existing
class and financial status benefit certain college applicants, mostly those who are
The simple truth is that prosperous communities, good schools and savvy
guidance counselors constitute affirmative action for whites.
There is also one deliberate and robust admissions policy used at many colleges
that in effect constitutes white affirmative action: That is the preference given in
admissions decisions to the children of alumni of the college.
In a previous life, I was an admissions officer at Princeton. That college and
others like it openly acknowledged that there was a separate pool for so-called
legacies. That remains true today.
Being a legacy was no guarantee of admission. All the legacies I saw admitted
were notably successful high school students and were fully capable of succeeding at
a demanding college. But a significant percentage of the class was reserved for these
legacies. I would say 5 to 10 percent of the admitted students were legacies who
would not otherwise have been admitted.
This legacy pool has been — and remains — overwhelmingly white. It will
remain so for years until the race and ethnicity of college graduates more accurately
reflect those of the overall population.
Today the Justice Department would have us believe that whites face reverse
discrimination in college admissions. But legacy admissions are just one example of
the ways in which the college-admission competition to this day tilts white.
T. H. RAWLS, MONKTON, VT