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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Meritocracy and Diversity in Higher Education: Discrimination Against Asian-Americans in the Post-Bakke Era

  • Author(s): Wang, L. Ling-Chi
  • et al.

The primary purposes of this paper are: (1) to examine some of the recent changes in admission patterns and policies among some of the most prestigious institutions of higher education, especially recent moves away from strict meritocratic criteria to increasing reliance on subjective and non-academic criteria and on an emerging, but vaguely defined concept of "diversity," and (2) to determine the implications of these changes not only on the admissions and enrollments of Asian American students in these institutions but also on the time-honored principle of meritocracy upon which these so-called world-class universities have built their reputation of academic excellence. The scope of this study is severely limited by the closely guarded data and documents available to date as well as by the fact that the issue is complex and still unfolding. As a consequence, this study should therefore be considered a contribution to an ongoing public policy debate and its conclusions considered tentative.

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