JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: COMPLAINTS ABOUT DIVERSITY AT OXBRIDGE LITTLE MORE THAN A KIND OF REVERSE-PREJUDICE SEEKING TO REPLACE ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT WITH DIVERSITY FOR ADMISSIONS   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY DAVID LAMMY IN THE GUARDIAN

Seven years has changed nothing at Oxbridge. In fact, diversity is even worse

“But for too long they have been allowed to be elitist as well, drawing up the ladder to success underneath them and reinforcing centuries of entrenched privilege.”

While I am sure there is some of this owing to the expectations that members of the royal family and aristocracy be given admissions, I seriously doubt that that description covers the situation at Oxbridge.

Why? Were admissions to truly ignore merit, the schools would quickly sink into mediocrity.

The definitive measure of a university’s world standing is the quality of the student applicants it attracts, not its buildings, not its traditions or age, and not even how distinguished the faculty are.

Oxbridge obviously now still draws a world-class cut of applicants.

Writers on this kind of social issue invariably take the view the numbers are prima facie evidence of some unfairness or prejudice.

But that just is not necessarily correct, and indeed when you begin arguing that a top-notch university should make diversity rather than sheer proven academic excellence a significant criterion, it does seem to me you are arguing the case for a definite kind of reverse-prejudice.

Universities like Yale or Harvard do make provision for a limited number of under-qualified students, but they can afford to do this owing to the great size of their institutions, the generally extremely high level of applicants, and the huge size of their private endowments providing effectively subsidies.

Even in the United States, you get the “aristocracy effect” at the best universities. Harvard and Yale, for example, take under-qualified applicants if they come from very wealthy families who can be counted on to give generously to the school’s endowment. Ergo, alumni like George Bush at Yale, but, remember, these are privately-funded institutions who must always be looking to their endowments.

Posted October 20, 2017 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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