Harvard prof calls for racial 'quota system' in higher ed

A visiting Harvard University professor recently called for a “quota system” in the admissions process to ensure a sufficient number of minority students attend elite universities.

Kalwant Bhopal, a professor of education and social justice at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, was recently brought on as a professor in Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, but continues to contribute articles to the London School of Economics and Political Science.

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In her latest post, Bhopal outlines her case for more aggressive affirmative action policies, suggesting that “universities should be held to account for their lack of representation of black and minority ethnic groups in senior decision-making roles through monitoring and reviewing their staff profiles on a regular basis.”

Bhopal, who will be releasing a book in April titled White Privilege: the myth of a post-racial society, claims that “racism is alive and well and robustly shaping the educational experiences of black and minority ethnic students in the United Kingdom and the United States.”

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“Higher education must firstly acknowledge institutional racism and white privilege; a failure to acknowledge racism results in a failure to act upon it,” she goes on to claim, saying universities should put “frameworks” in place for “monitoring racist incidents, identifying measures to address racism, and action plans with specific outcomes.”

Such action plans, she says, need to “demonstrate a clear link between identifying a problem, providing solutions, and measuring outcomes.

“Additionally, they need the ‘clarity’ we might associate with being ‘out in the open,’ in which racism is publically acknowledged and addressed. Such clarity would ensure that it is the outcome of change that is assessed, rather than the rhetoric of what should happen,” she adds.

Perhaps most shockingly, Bhopal then calls for a “quota system” for universities, particularly elite institutions, arguing that “the persistent failures of these publically-funded universities to address their inability to recruit the brightest students if they have the ‘wrong’ skin colour is, in the language of civil servants and policy-makers, not delivering value for money.”

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She concludes, though, by insisting that her ideas would not lower academic standards, asserting that “measures such as outreach programmes targeting poor areas, underperforming schools, and underrepresented schools; offering support packages to pupils to develop their university applications; training for interviews; bursaries and scholarships to Oxbridge, are in no way about lowering standards.”

Rather, she says these are “simple, necessary steps to move towards an inclusive approach for students from black and minority ethnic backgrounds who are not currently finding they have access to the same opportunities afforded their white, more wealthy, privately-schooled peers.”

Campus Reform reached out to Bhopal and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, but did not receive a response from either.

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