Legacy Admissions
January 6, 2004 4:41 AM   Subscribe

Affirmative Action Texas Style
Typically, anywhere from 1,650 to more than 2,000 A&M applicants a year receive legacy points, so called because they reward the grandchildren, children or siblings of A&M graduates. Such applicants receive 4 points on a 100-point scale that also takes into account such factors as class rank, test scores, extracurricular activities, community service and others. Most A&M applicants admitted with legacy points don't need them to get in. But in 2003, 312 whites were admitted who wouldn't have been without their alumni ties. In 2002, that figure was 321. The legacy program was the difference for six blacks and 27 Hispanics in 2003, and three blacks and 25 Hispanics in 2002.
I expect we will hear from the White House any day now about how wrong this is.
posted by nofundy (34 comments total)

 
"Legacy points", "Black Points", "Caucasian points"... They are all equally bad and should be done away with.
posted by EmoChild at 4:58 AM on January 6, 2004


On one hand this is nothing new, there's just an actual visible program for it. A lot of universities can see their way to admit your less-than-qualified kid if you donate money, exert other influence or are so well connected that it would make them look good for doing so. It doesn't mean it's right, but at least in this case it's documented.

You'll also fail to get a rise from the White House over this. Getting bonus points over skin colour is irksome to them. Getting bonus points because your daddy ejaculated isn't. It's also not a program designed to comply with federal mandates which they don't agree with either. It's a choice by the university. On the other hand to be proud about ending a program that awarded based on race while not taking a real hard and close look at this program is hypocritical.
posted by substrate at 5:05 AM on January 6, 2004


ditto. Legacies are especially pernicious(sic?) as they don't even have the pretense of correcting past wrongs. They reward past privilege, absent any merit, for the purposes of more effective fundraising (as Mom and Dad moneybags are more likely to give to the Alma Mater if junior also attends).
posted by leotrotsky at 5:05 AM on January 6, 2004


Substrate: and the universities equally so, for trumpeting their efforts to level the playing field for minority and disadvantaged students, whilst perpetuating a program that excludes some (as every doofus jr. accepted means another more qualified student rejected) for failure to have the proper parents.

(Though honestly, those most screwed are the middle class kids, those who can benefit from neither the 'leg-up' programs for disadvantaged kids, nor those advantages that come from having wealthy and well-connected parents.)
posted by leotrotsky at 5:12 AM on January 6, 2004


Though honestly, those most screwed are the middle class kids, those who can benefit from neither the 'leg-up' programs for disadvantaged kids, nor those advantages that come from having wealthy and well-connected parents.

They're not really screwed in comparison with those on the leg-up programs are they though? The middle class students have already been advantaged by their social position in comparison with the disadvantaged students. The leg-up is an equaliser not an advantage.
posted by biffa at 5:42 AM on January 6, 2004


granted. So, yeah... um, screw the rich.
posted by leotrotsky at 5:44 AM on January 6, 2004


With you all the way.
posted by biffa at 5:53 AM on January 6, 2004


Colleges and universities need money, and alumni donations are an important source of income. Rejecting the son, daughter or grandchild of an alumnus is the perfect way to lose a lifetime of gifts. It's time for you outraged posters to grow up and understand that rich people are not the enemy, they are a natural resource that needs to be cultivated and judiciously harvested. privileged admissions is part of that process. It's hypocritical of students to enjoy the fruits of philanthropy, like the new gymnasiums, libraries, and student activities centers -- and most importantly, scholarships for minority students -- and condemn the process that makes them possible. Don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg.
posted by Faze at 5:55 AM on January 6, 2004


But in 2003, 312 whites were admitted who wouldn't have been without their alumni ties. In 2002, that figure was 321.

Go through, look at the numbers, the article makes it out as a larger thing than it was yet it is not. As last year there were more/less.
posted by thomcatspike at 5:56 AM on January 6, 2004


Ahhh.. I get it. This a some sort of liberal lash out against the White Houses position on the University of Michigan Affirmative Action case.

Would it make much of a difference to you that U of M has the same policy? Even has the same 4 points for being Legacy.

Still 4 points for being a family member of alumni is a bit different then 20 points just because you're not white.
posted by dirt at 5:59 AM on January 6, 2004


Faze, maybe. You could just as well argue that not awarding points based on skin colour is also throwing away a potential lifetime of gifts. Not every one of those 321 students come from well off families that will donate any, let alone any meaningful amount, of money. Each one of those 321 students also bumped out somebody who was better suited to attend university according to their own criteria. Those students obviously won't be donating anything to Texas A&M after they graduate.
posted by substrate at 6:03 AM on January 6, 2004


Isn't this the way that W got into Yale? I expect no reaction from the white house.

on preview: dirt, this isn't a partisan thing, just a recognition of seemingly blind hypocrisy.
posted by jmgorman at 6:19 AM on January 6, 2004


This a some sort of liberal lash out against the White Houses position on the University of Michigan Affirmative Action case.
Is Tx. A&M a private University.
posted by thomcatspike at 6:19 AM on January 6, 2004


dirt: How about four points for being a minority or underprivileged, then, instead of nothing? Sucking up to wealthy alumni isn't stupid, but being hypocritical is. And the Texas A&M case is pretty blatantly hypocritical, or at least appears to be so from the facts at hand.
posted by raysmj at 6:22 AM on January 6, 2004


Not every one of those 321 students
in 2002 it 2003 we are discussing
posted by thomcatspike at 6:28 AM on January 6, 2004


They reward past privilege, absent any merit, for the purposes of more effective fundraising (as Mom and Dad moneybags are more likely to give to the Alma Mater if junior also attends).

We need to differentiate between two kinds of legacy "programs." That kind that seems to be receiving near universal scorn here, other than Faze--with whom I actually agree on this point--is the kind where children of rich parents receive preferential treatment regardless of, or in addition to the past matriculation of a relative.

The program in question here, however, gives points to applicants whose relatives, regardless of wealth, attended Texas A&M. The beneficiaries of this program are not just rich kids, but kids who might not otherwise be able to afford to attend the University. The fact that it disproportionately benefits white students is itself a legacy of the historical racism of the Texas University system.

Instead of outlawing the legacy program, which can serve a useful purpose, the program should be opened to the children of alumni of the historically black campuses in the Texas A&M system:
State Rep. Fred Brown, R-College Station, defends A&M's program but said he would like it better if it were amended to give legacy points to students whose parents went to Prairie View A&M, A&M-Kingsville and other schools in the A&M system. He said he will file a bill to effect that change at the Legislature's next regular session.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:29 AM on January 6, 2004


I should add that Texas A&M president Robert Gates has made a concerted effert to increase recruitment in minority areas in lieu of racial preferences in admissions. Additionally, and most relevent to our discussion, he is offering $5,000 scholarships to first generation college students whose family income is below $40,000.

It's also important to note that the figures for legacy assistance match the overall population of A&M, which is 82 percent white, 2 percent black, 9 percent Hispanic and 3 percent Asian-American. The real problem is not with Texas A&M excluding minorities. Rather, Texas A&M has had a hard time recruiting minority students, as indicated by the number of students who choose to enroll after being admitted. The figures are 48 percent for Hispanic students and 33 percent of Asian-Americans. This sharply contrasts with the 62 percent of admitted white students who choose to enroll. Instead of junking a legacy program which has important fiscal effects, A&M needs to focus on encouraging the minority students it does admit to actually attend.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:40 AM on January 6, 2004


Same old stuff: Left versus Right. Fact: Bush got affirmative action to get into Yale--his gene pool went there before him. Now turn to another oddity, the G.I. Bill. Former military guys often get points (Post Office) for having served. The idea is that they dropped behind in education etc in order to serve their co0untry and this is a small reward--some extra points. But should't it be an homor to have served rather than something you do and get rewarded for? Not sure. There never is a level field. As Emerson said: if it snowed all night the snow would have fallen evenly upon the earth. But in but a few hours, drifts etc would change the level snow field to heaps and gaps here and there. Called Life as it is. Athletes? they get special privilages too. And my son told if he played oboe he would doubtless beat out the Sax players for band because of the market: scarcity of oboe players. And on and on.
posted by Postroad at 7:00 AM on January 6, 2004


Postroad, are you trying to tell us that life isn't fair?
posted by Faze at 7:34 AM on January 6, 2004



Still 4 points for being a family member of alumni is a bit different then 20 points just because you're not white.


You could argue the reverse and say that you're getting 4 points because your parents went to college. What, your parents aren't college educated? No college for you!
posted by mikeh at 8:05 AM on January 6, 2004


You could argue the reverse
huh, you have to tan: no points for you.
This all boils down that there are more applicants than available enrollment . Whenever there are lines, usually comes unfairness: you're a "#" until something distinguishes you out from the rest. Was accepted by AM, wonder whom took my spot?, surely no one like me.

Can't figure out why this post is being so negative. As this years enrollment is better than last years process, yet it is bing harped on. Not looking at the half filled glass being partially refilled but emptied.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:28 AM on January 6, 2004


"Don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg."

We'll kill it, cook it, eat it, and use the feathers for a pillow, faze. You're correct, the "rich" should be viewed as a resource to be harvested after a lifetime of receiving the benefit of living in the U.S. and access to the assets and labor of the public commons. That's why we have inheritance taxes.
Since conservatives seem to think that poor people won't work as hard if tier basic needs are provided for, doesn't it follow that the progeny of the rich might work harder to get in school if we do away with legacy admissions?
posted by 2sheets at 8:28 AM on January 6, 2004


that the progeny of the rich might work harder to get in school if we do away with legacy admissions?
Why would a "rich" kid need an education if they are born with money & or a company position. How will a diploma gain them more in life than a "poor" kid with one.

Have met children whom have inherited more money than they will ever spend in a life time: amazed by their future goals, educating themselves so they will control their own money properly.(not all; but more than some)
posted by thomcatspike at 8:55 AM on January 6, 2004


The legacy program was the difference for six blacks and 27 Hispanics in 2003, and three blacks and 25 Hispanics in 2002.

Nofundy, just to be clear, the article is saying that the (six + 27, three + 25) minority students were ADMITTED on account of legacy points. It's probably true that minority students aren't getting their fair share of pro-legacy discrimination, but those particular students wouldn't have gotten into the university without the legacy program.

Also, it seems sort of unfair to paint this as a "Texas style" problem.
posted by coelecanth at 9:13 AM on January 6, 2004


That's why we have inheritance taxes -- 2sheets
A perfect example of golden goose slaughter. You need to control your envy, Mr. Sheets. The wealthy are a renewable resource, not something to be strip-mined and abandoned. You do no good to challenge their right to possess their wealth. That simply causes them to close their pockets and take their money elsewhere. You need to soothe them, make them feel like welcome members of the community -- which in fact they should be. Do so, and you will find that their pockets open, philanthropy reigns, and your community will enjoy the benefits of their wealth for generations, rather than a few days or months. The wealthiest class includes many morons who've inherited more cash than brains, but it also includes our most brilliant business people, scientists, inventors and artists. Colleges and universities need the good will of this class of high achievers, they need its presence on their boards and among their advisors -- and, to put it bluntly, they would be irresponsible to keep its superior gene pool out of their student bodies.
posted by Faze at 9:32 AM on January 6, 2004


Coelecanth.. same point I was going to bring up. Legacy points do not reward race, and does not discriminate.

It also does not focus on the wealth of a student. All it says is that your family attended here, we'd like to foster a multi-generation relationship.

There are some things you can infer from a relative of a former student.. that the former student was qualified and contributed to the school, and therefore it is more likely that the relative could also be successful there. They know more about the school, it's culture and offerings, and have the potential to make a better student possibly than someone who has no history there.

Why does everyone have to turn a rather innoculous decision criteria into some anti-minority, white rich male conspiracy?

(also, note: a large portion of alumni donation money comes from the $50-$250 dollar alumni givers as opposed to the large single grants)
posted by rich at 9:37 AM on January 6, 2004


I can't believe this discussion is centered on Texas A&M. Is this a joke, or what? ROFLMAO!


Why do Aggies hate M&Ms?
They're too hard to peel.

posted by Goofyy at 10:02 AM on January 6, 2004


Faze:They would be irresponsible to keep its superior gene pool out of their student bodies.

This is pretty damn funny and frightening at the same time.
posted by srboisvert at 10:03 AM on January 6, 2004


"You need to control your envy, Mr. Sheets"
Ah, the old "envy" response. As if anyone who is interested in social and economic justice is just a peasant or a parasite.
You know, like William H. Gates Sr.:

"Like the "great man" theory of history, our dominant "great man" theory of wealth creation borders on mythology. Such folklore fills the pages of business magazines. In a recent interview, one chief of a global corporation was asked to justify his enormous compensation package. He responded, "I created over $300 billion in shareholder value last year, so I deserve to be greatly rewarded." The operative word here is "I." There was no mention of the share of wealth created by the company's other 180,000 employees. From this sort of thinking, it is a short distance to, "It's all mine" and, "Government has no business taking any part of it." "

I was having a little fun with your Golden Goose analogy, and that could easily be construed as my advocating "strip mining and abandoning", which is not my point. But the idea that we should cater to the children of the wealthy so that their parents will be good citizens and support the education system that helps create that wealth is not fair to hard working students of any ethnicity or social class.
I'm aware that that's "the way things work", but we can do better.
posted by 2sheets at 10:13 AM on January 6, 2004


"I created over $300 billion in shareholder value last year, so I deserve to be greatly rewarded."
This CEO speaks the truth. I assume he doesn't make a billion dollars a year, and that's because there are 180,000 employees in the company. You could envy him, and cut his pay, and chase him elsewhere. Or you could pay him a billion dollars a year (I would), and keep him right up there, generating dough for the pensioners, widows and orphans who probably make up a large portion of his stockholders. Money IS social justice.
posted by Faze at 10:53 AM on January 6, 2004


Money IS social justice.

bull. fucking. shit.
posted by quonsar at 11:26 AM on January 6, 2004


we should cater to the children of the wealthy
It's not children of the wealthy here, they're in with flin: but children whom have personal ties that graduated from TX A&M, relatives, friends, & or parents: "legacy".
posted by thomcatspike at 11:54 AM on January 6, 2004


Faze doesn't strip-mine rich people. He just strip-mines New York City.

Right, Faze?
posted by Ptrin at 12:06 PM on January 6, 2004


Ptrin -- 2shay!
posted by Faze at 7:51 AM on January 7, 2004


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