Episode #49: Affirmative Action and Disaggregated Selection with George Dent

Peter Wood

In this episode, Professor of Law Emeritus and NAS Board Member George Dent joins Peter to discuss racial preferences in college admissions. Is race merely “a factor of a factor of a factor,” as the U.S. Supreme Court claims? Dent doesn’t think so, and instead advocates for “disaggregated selection,” if race is to be a factor at all. The two go on to examine the rapidly expanding diversity industry, parallels to the push for gender equity, and the ways in which identity preferences play out in law schools.

Show Notes

2:43 Peter and George discuss differences between “holistic admissions” and “disaggregated selection.”

5:20 Dent disputes the U.S. Supreme Court’s claim that race is simply “a factor of a factor of a factor” in admissions decisions.

6:28 Dent explains the concept of disaggregated selection.

9:07 Dent argues that disaggregated selection is the more honest process, but also questions if schools desire honesty in the first place.

11:00 Dent proposes methods to evaluate the supposed benefits of identity-based diversity touted by its higher ed supporters.

15:43 Peter posits that colleges and universities don’t simply want “holistic” admissions; they want to actively pursue racial parity.

17:40 What’s the point of maintaining the illusion of admissions fairness when the system has become blatantly unfair?

20:21 Why do institutions have diversity programs and initiatives? Dent highlights that political correctness is an industry.

21:55 Dent explains why he, a straight-white-male, is so interested in the topic of racial preferences.

24:02 What about the claim: “We’re not lowering standards. We’re using different, more inclusive standards”?

25:50 Dent warns that the diversity industry’s expansion never stops: more college bureaucrats, more corporate positions, more academic departments, etc.

31:48 Do these concepts carry over into discussions of gender diversity?

37:02 How difficult is it for those in charge of hiring to ascertain the political views of candidates?

39:28 Peter and George discuss the difficulty of publishing law review articles that express unpopular opinions.

48:56 Peter laments that conservatives don’t seem to care about the Leftist dominance of higher ed.

56:15 Removing Western Civ courses creates a cynical distrust of public institutions and deprives students of the truth.

58:16 Many Left-leaning faculty claim that they teach fairly and that students will make up their own minds. Dent disagrees.

1:01:30 Peter asks George about the movement against Federalist Society members’ ability to serve as judges.

1:04:34 Peter and George discuss Justice Gorsuch’s criticism of lower-court judges who are trigger-happy with injunctions.

Resources:

Dent, George W. and Arkes, Hal R., Holistic Review in Race-Conscious University Admissions (August 12, 2019). Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2019-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3436117 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3436117

Dent, George W., ABA Watch: Unconstitutional and Blatantly Political, Model Rule 8.4(g) (September 11, 2017). FedSoc Blog. https://fedsoc.org/commentary/fedsoc-blog/aba-watch-unconstitutional-and-blatantly-political-model-rule-8-4-g

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