Thomas Sowell

"Mismatching" is a word that everyone understands. Maybe that is why the defenders of affirmative action had to come up with some obscure phrase like "the 'fit' hypothesis." In any event, this study finds that in fact black students do not do as well in colleges and universities where they do not meet the standards of those particular institutions.

Although this study was sponsored by people who support affirmative action, they have now discovered that they gave their money and their data to people who were honest enough to report the facts, even when those facts refuted key assumptions behind group preferences in college admissions.

Four Ivy League college presidents refused to comment on this study when contacted by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Professor Cole says frankly that he doesn't expect that he will ever get another grant from the Mellon Foundation, which contributed money for this research. What does all this say about the vaunted search for truth in academia?

Unfortunately, "Increasing Faculty Diversity" ends with a chapter full of recommendations for increasing the number of minority professors. Perhaps that was inevitable, given the mandate of the study.

But why should third parties decide what black, white, or any other color students do with their lives? This is one of many things to which a busybody mentality among the intelligentsia devotes "a most unnecessary attention," to use Adam Smith's great phrase.

It is especially unnecessary after demonstrating that it makes no real difference what the race or sex of professors is.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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