January 17, 2006

Bound to Happen 

Imperial select on ability. In some faculties there are concerns about how few white students there are. Jane Gibbs, our (Imperial's) Widening Participation Officer, has said in some instances the white working class male is in the minority," said Thody.
Heh ®.

Take a walk along the college's main walkway if you don't believe (it's public access). But you'd better learn some Chinese first. Diversity Cultists never let go, however:
The Guardian recently disclosed figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) which it stated "reveal a deeply worrying racial divide amongst British universities". The report singled out Imperial as having very few students of Afro-Caribbean origin. Imperial has one of the highest proportions of ethnic minorities (mostly international students), however the HESA state that Imperial has only 15 Black Caribbean students (including British students of Black Caribbean descent).[...] In an accompanying Guardian article, Trevor Phillips, Chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) and Imperial Alumnus, said "This survey gives new meaning to institutionalised racism" and it is "beyond doubt" that segregation is taking place between universities in Britain.
Yes, if you inanely consider a lack of equal results as proof of racism. Typical Guardian. Silly me, I thought that equal opportunities were the way to go.

At least someone is questioning their statements on the basis of facts - although it's terribly hard to escape the quagmire of political correctness:
Michael Bajomo, Vice President of the Imperial College Union's African Caribbean Society (ACS), criticised the figures provided by HESA. He told Felix that the ACS had over 300 members; although they weren't all of Afro-Caribbean decent, he said he knew more than 15 students personally. He questioned the validity of the UCAS-derived statistics as students are under no obligation to declare their ethnic origin when applying to university. (Thanks heavens! - ed.)

He believes the real problem at Imperial is the "lack of British minorities" and believes there is a predominance of white middle class students. "The number of black British students at Imperial must be in single figures" he continued.
I can see quite a number of black people around here, but from their accents they appear to be mostly African, true.

And now let's sing "We Are Inclusive" all together:
Imperial seriously considers widening participation, some staff are recruited with the sole purpose of raising aspirations and conducting mock interviews with underrepresented groups. Lindi Galloway, Imperial's Director of Access, said, "Our strategy is to reach as many people as possible, particularly from non-traditional areas including people who are not used to applying, to show them what's on offer and help raise aspirations. It has been highly effective in terms of gaining applications from students who might never have come to Imperial. We've been working on it solidly for six years and are starting to see the first students come through the system."
Who are these "underrepresented" groups? Chavs, urban scum? Folks with a talent for laying bricks but nothing else? Laying bricks properly is a respectable work in itself, but you don't need to know advanced mathematics for it.

At least sanity still prevails in the end:
Controversially, Cambridge University has introduced a positive discrimination quota system in an attempt to widen access to minority groups. Thody told Felix, "Imperial College have not operated quotas, that was a very high level decision. It's quite a dangerous game to get into; Cambridge and LSE have been doing it. LSE have been secretly playing with quotas, in certain areas they've taken a lot of black students." She assured Felix that at Imperial, admissions are based solely on ability and are open to all.
I'll state it again: ethnic quotas and positive discrimination are racism, even if compassionate. The non-racist way is equal opportunities and rights under a strongly ability-based admission system. And results will be different because individuals are different. That's all.


perfettamente d'accordo. per ora in italia il problema non si pone piu di tanto ma aspetto con fiducia.

Scusa ma cosa vuoi dire con "aspetto con fiducia"?

Io cerco di schivare il politicamente corretto come la peste...


i'm a bit worried by your distinction between equal opportunities and equal results; it goes without saying that the question is equal opportunities; but you would think that, given real equal opportunities across generations, you would obtain, if the scale is large enough, equal results. Therefore, differently from what you seem to think, differences in results are a good way to understand where to work in terms of equality of opportunity

First of all, when I talk about equality or diversity of result I consider statistical averages and trends; single individuals often behave in surprising ways.

Unequal results can mean unequal opportunities, but not necessarily unless you postulate that across all cultural differences people basically have the same ambitions and aspirations and commitment.

But there are good reasons to think that this is not the case, and thus individuals will achieve different results starting from equal opportunities without discriminations.


oh yes, individuals will achieve different results starting from equal opportunities; but the question, as you say yourself, is not about individuals; it is about races or cultures. so your claim is that races or coltures will achieve different results, where that means the statistical avarage, even given equal opportunities. and that is a much trickier claim than the one about individuals.
there might be coltural diversities at play; but if one thinks that education is an absolute good, you would think that those coltural diveristies should not result in poorer achievements


I have said nothing about race-based achievements. I only responded to claims made in the article I cited, claims saying that segregation is practiced at Imperial College and other British universities. And what I said is that the mere fact that at IC there are just a few Afro-caribbean and British black students is not in itself proof of discrimination. If you want to demonstrate that, you have to find proof that black candidates applied but were rejected only because of their race.

What do you mean with "education is an absolute good?" I also did not talk about poorer achievements, but different ones. Studying Chemical Engineering, for example, requires a different set of talents and abilities than Arts or Marketing. But in the end an artist can end up being richer and more famous than an engineer.


equal opportunities has very little to do with making sure that a university's admission people are not racist; that is, that's a given. but on top of that you must make sure that the communities from which these people come, and the schools from which these people come, enable equal opportunities. you cannot reduce equal opportunities to the admission moment; that way the issue disappears

Now you're expanding the boundaries quite a bit. If you want to blog about the subject of society-wide equal opportunities, I'll link you. But that goes far beyond the scope of my post - which is mainly an amused reaction to the realization that even whites can be a minority.
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