University of Wisconsin Defends Its Admissions Program

The Center for Equal Opportunity (CEO) in Falls Church, Virginia, recently released a report claiming that black students are given an unfair advantage in the admissions process at the University of Wisconsin. According to the CEO data:

• In 2008, the University of Wisconsin at Madison admitted 71.8 percent of black applicants and 59.3 percent of white applicants.

• The median combined SAT score (math plus verbal) for black admittees was roughly 150 points lower than the median score for whites.

•  In 2007 and 2008, blacks and Hispanic applicants with the same ACT score and high school rank as the average black admittee had a 100 percent chance of admission. In 2007 whites with similar ACT scores and high school rank were admitted at a rate of 27 percent. In 2008 whites with similar characteristics were admitted 38 percent of the time.

The university issued a statement in response to the CEO report. In the statement the university wrote, “When it comes to admissions, UW–Madison employs a holistic, competitive and selective process for undergraduate, graduate and professional schools. That process takes into account a range of factors, including grades, standardized test scores, recommendations, extracurricular activities, leadership and written statements. UW–Madison’s approach is consistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions in the Michigan affirmative action cases that say race is a permissible factor in consideration of holistic admissions.”

David Ward, interim chancellor of the University of Wisconsin at Madison added, “Any student who is accepted at UW-Madison is here because he or she has the potential and the capacity to succeed. No matter what a student’s class rank or test scores were, students who are accepted qualify for a spot at this university. No one is admitted solely because of race or ethnicity.”

Adele Brumfield, director or admissions, stated, “While holistic in our admissions, there are certain parameters and high standards that must be met. We stand behind our process, which is continually refined and enhanced, to admit classes that are both diverse and meritorious.”

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