Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President of Stanford University, has just issued an apology for Stanford’s discrimination against Jewish applicants for admission in the 1950s.
On behalf of Stanford University I wish to apologize to the Jewish community, and to our entire university community, both for the actions documented in this report to suppress the admission of Jewish students in the 1950s and for the university’s denials of those actions in the period that followed. These actions were wrong. They were damaging. And they were unacknowledged for too long. Today, we must work to do better, not only to atone for the wrongs of the past, but to ensure the supportive and bias-free experience for members of our Jewish community that we seek for all members of our Stanford community.
Better seventy years late than never—but not much better. No one who paid attention to college admissions policies in the 1950s was unaware of college discrimination against Jews. Jewish applicants, of course, knew a closed door when they felt it slammed in their faces. Everyone knew. Stanford’s administrators, as those of virtually every other selective college in the United States, have always known how they selected. Stanford has timed its apology so that it only apologizes for actions committed by administrators long since in the grave, and to student applicants now enjoying Social Security paychecks.
Stanford also has timed its apology to distract attention from the discrimination universities currently conduct, which is undergoing legal challenge in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard. Harvard, as all selective American colleges, now proudly discriminates against Asian-American applicants for admission—and more broadly against white applicants, including Jewish ones. More generally, and beyond the specific remit of that legal challenge, the universities engage in discrimination at all levels against groups including whites, men, Asians, Jews, Christians, and conservatives. Everyone knows—above all, those who have had the door slammed in their faces.
The National Association of Scholars calls on Stanford and all its peers to apologize for the discriminations they are committing now, to provide a full accounting now of their discriminations and their dissemblings, and to cease their discriminations now.
Let us have apologies accompanied by timely action. Apologies delayed a lifetime are hollow mockeries of true remorse.