To the Editor,
The Asian-Pacific Islander Leadership Forum denounces the recent editorial, “Refocus Admissions on Merit,” published in The Hoya last Friday. We do not stand for the beliefs espoused in this article.
While the editorial states that after eliminating affirmative action, the proportion of Asian-American students rose at the University of California, Berkeley, the editorial fails to mention how the policy also hurt enrollment of Black and Latinx students.
The editorial also ignores how whiteness is still predominant at private universities across the country, as legacy status unfavorably advantages white students from wealthy backgrounds. This is how predominantly white institutions manage to remain this way, forcing minority students to vie for the remaining seats.
Additionally, affirmative action has benefited disadvantaged Asian-American groups, namely those of Southeast Asian origin and/or from low-income backgrounds. As stated in the editorial, certain Asian-American ethnic groups — e.g., Laotian-Americans at 16 percent and Bhutanese-Americans at 9 percent — are less likely to hold a bachelor’s or graduate degree than other groups — e.g., Indian-Americans at 72 percent. However, eliminating affirmative action will further exacerbate this problem.
Thus, instead of debating the merits of affirmative action, we should direct our energies toward not only ending legacy status at PWIs but disaggregating data among Asian-Americans. Disaggregation — meaning to collect data on Asian-Americans by ethnicity, rather than as a monolithic racial group — will be one step toward ending these inequities among Asian-Americans.
We would like to see the editorial board apologize for its harmful statements against Black and Latinx students. We are willing to hold conversation with all Asian-identified students who hold these beliefs.
As an organization, APILF believes in fighting for educational equity in every form, though we do not think that dismantling affirmative action is the way to accomplish it.
Zachary Frial (SFS ’18)