Linking affirmative action and "legacy admissions"

Letters to the Editor |

Feb. 29, 2012 — Linking “legacy” admissions to affirmative action is a compelling idea. The massive distortion presented by [legacy admissions] has been well documented by a Century Foundation Report. But that report also discovered that preferences for athletes is an even larger issue. Contrary to what many may believe, racial minorities are not the leading beneficiaries. If one looks at “major” sports, that may be true, but there are many more students recruited for “minor” sports — wrestling, tennis, fencing, cross country, golf, swimming, and so on. It may be that there should be a large framing of the issues of preferences, the less visible and more visible ones — looking for justice and social good. One can argue that all of the preferences legitimately increase the quality of eduction at a college or university — but only one is being recognized as “preference” and treated as “unfair.”

Thomas Bender, New York, New York

The writer is a Professor of History and Humanities at New York University.


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