Cross-posted at www.angryyoungdem.vox.com
I have been accussed of writing entries that are too long, thus losing my readership, so I am going to keep this one brief, a la my friend FAU.
The story, for those of you too busy (or lazy) to click the link above, goes like this. The University of Illinois Law School, the 23rd top ranked law school in the country, was caught with documented evidence provided law school spots to unqualified, but politcally connected applicants in exchange for jobs. The story mostly focuses on a relative of a major donor to disgraced governor Blago in exchange for a promise of 5 jobs for graduating students.
There are two points I want to make about this story. The first is that the administrators in question had discussions about these illicit agreements in emails. It is amazing to me that law school officials, repeat people who RUN A LAW SCHOOL, would put such incriminating things in writing. How can people who train students to give legal advice ignore what has become the most sacrosanct rule. DO NOT PUT ANYTHING IN AN EMAIL Have these people not heard of the old adage, "Never write if you can speak; never speak if you can nod; never nod if you can wink." Al they had to do was have these conversations in person, with no paper trail, and all this story would be is rumor and innuendo. Instead, just more corruption out of the great state of Illinois.
The second point is one that I made (to impress the girl I was sitting next to who would later become my wife) during a debate on affirmative action. Affirmative action exists for the rich and powerful (and that is mostly white people). The people who argue in favor of eliminating race as a factor in school admissions like to ignore the fact that other factors dominated by white people, are often considered (although not put an emails discovered by major newspapers) in school admissions. The power and presitge of the parent, the wealth of the parent, and the fact that a child is a legacy. If a school is going to consider legacy status in admissions, especially at old, prestigious schools, there is going to be an added benefit to white people. I don't think I am going out on a limb to suggest that most schools outside of historically Black universities, have far more caucasian legacies than people of color.
This incident only underscores to me the importance of affirmative action in leveling the playing field. Spots in law schools, and every school, are limited. Some more deserving student was denied a spot at the 23rd best law school in the country because some other guy's daddy had the money to donate to a governor and the promise to deliver 5 jobs to 5 equally undeserving graduates. When Sonia Sotomayor gets into Princeton and Yale, the bigots scream affirmative action. But when George W. Bush gets into Yale these same people scream ____. That's right, silence.