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Tuesday, June 28, 2022

OPINION:

The Supreme Court will soon weigh in on the use of race in university admissions. But preserving the racist admissions policies under consideration by the court is among the highest priorities of university administrators. Indeed, here in Texas, UT-Austin is fighting a fierce battle for the right to continue to disadvantage white and Asian students in admission to the flagship university in Texas.

Yet, outside of the sort of people who populate university administrations, these sorts of racist admission policies are quite unpopular, and even far-left California soundly rejected the use of race for admissions in a ballot initiative. Why, then, do universities, and in particular, those in Texas, fight so hard to maintain the ability to select students on the basis of race?


Perhaps even more puzzling, why does the leadership of Texas and the state legislature permit UT-Austin to continue to expend state resources to fight for vile, racist policies that their own constituents (of all races) find repugnant? I can answer the first of these questions, the second remains a puzzle to me.

The explanation of why universities fight so hard for such morally repugnant policies, even in the face of increasing evidence that they harm the intended beneficiaries, not just the intended targets, is actually quite simple: hate. The takeover of universities by critical race theorists — often through the mechanism of “diversity, equity and inclusion” offices and the strategic placement of critical race theorists in positions of authority — is effectively complete, and these increasingly influential faculty and administrators are driven by a deeply racist philosophy where earned success by someone not in a designated “marginalized group” is itself is evidence of being an oppressor.

All the discussion of the value of diverse student bodies, the need for representation, and the desire to redress past wrongs is just a thin veil covering the racial hatred and thirst for revenge for past wrongs (committed by long-dead people against other long-dead people) that motivates the critical race theorists. 

In their ideal world, the university would contain no members of the oppressor class or those who enact the characteristics of the oppressor class (that means Asians and increasingly, Hispanics) unless those oppressors embrace their role as allies and work exclusively for the benefit of the marginalized classes.

As insane as this sounds, these are truly the beliefs at play. University administrators who do not belong to a marginalized group survive and thrive on campuses by enacting their “allyship” here; they would face constant attacks from the racist elements on campus if they did not put as many resources as possible into fighting for the policy goals of the CRT activists. 

Thus, self-interested administrators find themselves in the interesting position of working hard to disadvantage in the admissions process people with the same identity profile as their own children — though, of course, this disadvantage seldom reaches to their children themselves.

But, why does the Legislature tolerate this? Why do university boards of regents tolerate university presidents taking racist and repugnant stands on legal and public policy issues, using state funds? Why are the presidents more scared of racist faculty than of their state government, which should be monitoring them to make sure there are focused on excellence and equal treatment of students? Why do we see vast sums of money poured into these universities while the funds are squandered on defending such policies and promoting racist activism aimed at preschoolers? Why will no Texas politician do what is both the right thing and the politically popular thing?

Even if the U.S. Supreme Court does the right thing and bans racism in college admissions, it will take state action to get universities to follow the law. But why even wait until then to demand fair admissions? Is the university really that intimidating? Are football games in the president’s box so much fun that it is not worth creating any dissent just to protect the fundamental principles of our nation and our state? Is it that important to get their children into a Texas public university so that they too can be taught that they are inherently racist?

I do not have the answers to these questions, but I encourage the people of Texas to seek them out.

• Richard Lowery is an associate professor of finance at the University of Texas at Austin. He completed his Ph.D. in economics at Carnegie Mellon University.


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