WATCH: Soviet education system valued merit more than American colleges do today, Buynevich explains

'At some point, we still needed to grow crops.'

Campus Reform Higher Education Fellow Ilya Buynevich recently joined Fox Business to discuss the ongoing “war on merit” in university classrooms. Professor Buynevich argued that the modern American higher education actually values merit even less than the Soviet education system did.

“I grew up in Ukraine during the Soviet era, and starting with acceptance and all the way through school and through college merit still triumphed, because at some point we still needed to grow crops, make rockets for good or bad,” Buynevich explained. “So no matter what the ideology, merit was the decisive factor past all the nepotism and corruption.”

[RELATED: ASSOC. PROF. Buynevich: I grew up in the Soviet Union. Even those universities valued merit more than some American schools do today.]

Buynevich spoke about the various ways in which this “war on merit” is being fought, including the use of affirmative action policies and the promotion of identity politics in the classroom. He argued that these measures are not only unfair to students who have worked hard to earn their place, but they also do a disservice to the very groups they are meant to help.

“Just like we do in the Olympics, we want to train everybody so they can excel and go for the gold medal.”

“We don’t slow down Usain Bolt at the hundred-meter run.”

Buynevich noted that often when students are admitted based on considerations other than merit, professors are pressured to pass or grade favorably.

“Unless we are raising grades artificially on some students and not others it’s not going to work,” he added.