A hit-piece against Lottery admissions

Prof. Jonathan Turley is an American legal scholar. In an article on his blog, he sounds the alarm regarding proposals to admit students to U.S. universities at random.

“Just Blind Chance”: The Rising Call For “Random Selection” For College Admissions

Random selection is not generally an approach that most people opt for in the selection of doctors or even restaurants or a movie. However, it appears to be the new model for some in higher education. Former Barnard College mathematics professor Cathy O’Neil has written a column calling for “random selection” of all college graduates to guarantee racial diversity. It is ever so simple: “Never mind optional standardized tests. If you show interest, your name goes in a big hat.” She is not the only one arguing for blind or random admissions.

Blind selection is the final default position for many schools. Universities have spent decades working around court decisions limiting the reliance on race as an admissions criterion. Many still refuse to disclose the full data on scores and grades for admitted students. If faced with a new decision further limiting (or entirely eliminating) race as a criterion, blind selection would effectively eliminate any basis for judicial review.

It would also destroy any value for the students to work to achieve greater achievement in math, science, and other subjects. O’Neil is right. They would be free to spend their time “smoking pot and getting laid in between reading Dostoyevsky and writing bad poetry.” The new model for admissions would range from Hunter Thompson to Hunter Biden.

The push for blind or random admissions is the ultimate sign of the decadence of society. What O’Neil is describing is a system designed for the intellectual dilettante. Of course, countries like China are moving to dominate the world economy with kids who are not focusing on good sex and bad poetry. Higher education has long been based on intellectual achievement and discovery. Admission to higher ranked schools has been a key motivating factor for millions of students, including the children of many first generation Americans. Their achievement has translated into national advancement in science and the economy. It has served to bring greater opportunities and growth for all Americans.

Now, recognition of such achievement is rejected by writers like O’Neil as “perpetuating the privileges of wealth” and preventing true racial diversity in our schools. So we will eliminate merit-based admissions entirely and reduce higher education to a lottery system based on pure luck.

And, when the world discovers that bad poetry holds the key to the new global economy, we will once again rise as a world power.

5 Responses

  1. This would be possible to have a mixed system with standardized tests AND sortition. Let’s imagine that you randomly select a 100 people who have a score above a 100 pt. By adjusting this limit you could have the full spectrum betwee pure chance and standardized test


  2. the problem with higher education is that it relies on merit rather than status as the driving criteria for admissions.

    Sounds a bit like the critique of the civil service in Britain after the Northcote-Trevelyan reforms. It seems that the arguments of progressives have now run full circle.


  3. The chief stimulus to this debate seems to be the over/under representation of certain ethnic minorities at prestigious colleges. Oh let’s not mince words. ‘Too few blacks, too many Chinese’.

    So somebody counts these things, but on what basis? I recall that South Africa in the bad old apartheid days had a bureau of racial classification. Does something similar exist in the US? If not, surely anyone can claim to be whatever they like?

    Of course using a lottery should do away with all this odious classification/victimhood.


  4. I lean to Conall’s premise. Thus, sortition is simply the wrong tool. If we accept this value judgement (of the political elites?) as a given, they could still use primarily merit plus stratification of acceptance rates by share of ethnicity, thus minimising the damage to academia.


  5. No need to go to US or South Africa. They ask you your ethnicity when you go to the GP in UK. The US also teaches us how you can be both “colourblind” while being a white supremacist: Tucker carlson https://www.credit-cooperatif.coop/Institutionnel


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: