Harvard Legacy: Down with Affirmative Action!

Oh my. From the Crimson:

Helping those with primarily low academic qualifications into primarily academic institutions makes as much sense as helping the visually impaired become pilots. How would you feel if you were assured before going into surgery that your surgeon was the beneficiary of affirmative action in medical school? I do not see why higher academic institutions should lower their standards for admission.

PLOT TWIST: the author is—hiss, hiss!—a legacy:

In a way, I am the product of a sort of affirmative action, and it takes a terrible psychological toll. My father went to Harvard College, which makes me a legacy. I am kept up at night by the thought that simply because my father has attended and donated to the University, I might have taken the spot of a more qualified applicant. My name is not exactly “Sarah Wigglesworth Hurlbut Coop,” but I am still a legacy, and the thought of its bearing on my admission is somewhat terrifying.

May blogs diagnose new disorders? The author appears to be suffering from the delusion, largely indigenous to New England and the Tri-State area, that life is like the Harry Potter universe, where young wizards are admitted to Hogwarts by way of pure destiny and magical envelopes, rather than SAT tutors and enormous parental donations. This legacy actually seems to believe that she could not have attended any other school, or just not applied to Harvard in the first place, thereby saving her years of suffering, of thinking she doesn’t actually belong at Harvard.

And to answer the burning question: of course she took the spot of a better applicant. Probably a far better one. What else are legacy admissions for? Rescuing endangered animals?

Brown Removes Paterno From Award, Alumni List, But Leaves ‘Legacy’ Page Calling Him ‘Leader,’ ‘Humanitarian’

Although he was best known for his Big Ten career, former Penn State coach Joe Paterno first made his name as an Ivy League star, playing football for Brown in the 1940’s. And while it was once an honor to call Paterno an alum, his alma mater has publicly renamed an athletics award that was given in his honor, is reviewing his membership in their Athletic Hall of Fame, and, less publicly, removed his name from a list of “Prominent Brown Alumni,” distancing themselves from their former star quarterback. Well, sort of.

The reasons for these changes are clear. In the wake of the Sandusky sex scandal, Paterno’s reputation has been severely tarnished, as it was determined that not only did he know his assistant coach had molesting young boys, he went out of his way to hide it. As Louis Freeh wrote in his independent report on Penn State released earlier this month:

“[Paterno] repeatedly concealed critical facts relating to Sandusky’s child abuse from the authorities, the University’s Board of Trustees, the Penn State community, and the public at large.”

Doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that you want to be advertising on your website.

However, even after removing his name from their alumni list and taking his name off an athletic award, Brown has left up what seems to be a fairly substantial connection to Paterno: a webpage titled “The Paterno Legacy.” Read the rest of this entry »