If there is one refrain that is repeated, mantra-like, over and over again by defenders of racial preferences, it is that race is only “one of many factors” in admissions decisions. The quotes are ubiquitous, as in the president of the University of Michigan, Mary Sue Coleman’s, repeated assertions that “there is no effective substitute for the consideration of race as one of many factors in our admissions decisions.”
Well, what are the “many factors” the University of Michigan considers? Its admission scale (as quoted in Jennifer Gratz’s Supreme Court brief) has 150 points, with a virtually guaranteed admission to those scoring over 100 points. Let’s look at the “many factors”:
Up to 80 points can be based on high school grade point average (e.g., 40 points for a 2.0 GPA; 60 points for a 3.0; and 80 points for a 4.0)…. Up to 12 points, representing a perfect ACT/SAT score, can be earned for performance on either of the two standardized tests; up to 10 points for quality of school; from 8 to -4 points for strength or weakness of high school curriculum; 10 points for in-state residency; 4 points for alumni rela- tionships; 1 point for an outstanding essay (changed to 3 points beginning in 1999); and 5 points for personal achievement or leadership on the national level. Under a “miscellaneous” category, a flat 20 points are added for one of several factors, including an applicant’s membership in an “underrepresented” racial or ethnic minority group.
So, the “many factors” are: grades, test scores (with only 12 points for a perfect score!), quality of school, quality of student’s curriculum, quality of essay, leadership, legacy status, geography, and race.
Race counts for more — usually, a great deal more — than everything else on the list except grades.