What people say about Color and Money-

"Anyone interested in the inequities of the selective college admissions process will find Color and Money clear-eyed, hard-hitting, enlightening, and informative."--Rachel Toor, author of Admissions Confidential: An Insider's Account of the Elite College Selection Process.
"For those concerned about why the march toward social justice in America has faltered badly for nearly forty years, Peter Schmidt's Color and Money is a highly instructive--and greatly disturbing--guidepost." --Richard Kluger, author of Simple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America's Struggle for Equality.
"An indispensible guide to the debate over affirmative action in the United States."--Michael Lind, author of The Next American Nation.
"This book is a must read for anyone concerned with access to higher education, especially to the nation’s elite universities, as well as with larger questions of social policy and social justice."--Terry MacTaggart, Former Chancellor, University of Maine System
"Books on the highly-charged issue of affirmative action are usually one-sided and inflammatory. Peter Schmidt's Color and Money is a wonderful exception. It provides an honest and fair examination that is also passionate and illuminating."--Richard D. Kahlenberg, Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation, and author of The Remedy: Class, Race, and Affirmative Action

Peter Schmidt is available as a speaker

Peter Schmidt is available to speak at colleges, bookstores, schools, churches, and at gatherings of education associations. His past speaking engagements are listed at the bottom of this Web site. If interested in having him appear, e-mail him at schmidt_peter@msn.com. He also is available as an expert source for journalists covering affirmative action. Those on a tight deadline should email him at peter.schmidt@chronicle.com.

Hear interviews with Peter Schmidt

Jack Lessenberry of Michigan Public Radio talked to Peter Schmidt about Color and Money in August. You can hear the interview here. Reading the book inspired Jack to write an essay on it, which you can read here. You also can hear Peter Schmidt talk about his book on the NPR program Justice Talking and in a Chronicle of Higher Education podcast.

Color and Money Is a College Course!

Many college professors are now using Color and Money in their classes, but Jack Dougherty, the director of the educational studies program at Trinity College in Connecticut, has gone a big step beyond. He has decided to name a freshman seminar "Color and Money" and to structure the class around the book. He has graciously agreed to share his syllabus, available here, for faculty members at other colleges who may have the same idea.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

University of Michigan Avoids Any Big Diversity Drop from Preference Ban

Back in 2006, when Michiganders were voting on a proposal to ban public colleges and other state and local agencies from using affirmative-action preferences, the University of Michigan warned that the passage of such a measure would lead to a huge drop in black, Hispanic, and Native American enrollments on its Ann Arbor campus. The university issued similar warnings in previous years when its ability to use affirmative-action preferences was being challenged in court.

Preliminary admissions numbers for the coming fall recently released by U of M show that such predictions have not come true. In the first full admissions cycle after it was precluded from considering applicants' race, the share of its incoming freshman class that is black, Hispanic, or Native American fell from 10.85 percent to 10.47 percent--a decline, yes, but small enough to go largely unnoticed.

A statement issued by the university described several steps it had taken to try to maintain racial and ethnic diversity. Its undergraduate-admissions office hired additional employees, expanded its hours of operation, and used Descriptor PLUS, a geodemographic search tool developed by the College Board, to identify high schools and neighborhoods that are underrepresented on its campus. The university also stepped up its outreach in communities such as Detroit. (See full Chronicle of Higher Education blog coverage, with a link to the university's statement, here.)

Given that the University of Michigan's enrollment has never been as racially diverse as the state it serves, it's worth asking why Michigan did not take such steps earlier. As the book Color and Money discusses in depth, it often has taken the shock to the system delivered by ban on affirmative-action preferences to get colleges to get serious about finding workable alternatives. When they do get serious, the workable alternatives suddenly appear.

Special News Bulletin: Not All Asian Americans Are Alike!!!

A report released this month by a collaborative involving the College Board and two New York University institutes tells the world what just about anyone who reads a newspaper or even leaves their house has known for decades: the stereotype of Asian Americans as the "model minority" is horribly simplistic. While some segments of the Asian American population, such as those whose families came over from Japan or India, are doing incredibly well in educational and economic terms, others, such as Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian Americans, are struggling with low education levels and high levels of poverty.

The report offers valuable demographic information about various segments of the Asian American population, but it is also missing a few things. It says little about how colleges tend to lump all Asian American populations together--by giving them just one "Asian American" box to check on applications--and then, often, hold them to admissions standards that are every bit as high as, if not higher than, those applied to white students. In its discussion of affirmative action, the report made no reference to a recent study (discussed here) that found Asian American enrollments rose at several elite public universities after they were barred from considering applicants' race.

Chronicle of Higher Education coverage of the report is available to subscribers here.

A Dissident Voice Roils a Disney World Diversity Conference

This year's National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education witnessed some excitement beyond what was promised by its locale, Disney World.

One of the nation's leading proponents of diversity in higher education, Evelyn Hu-DeHart, director of Brown University's Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, delivered a speech taking conference attendees to task for not doing more to advocate for black, Hispanic, and Native American students and faculty members. She went so far as to suggest that colleges let people attend this attend this annual conference—typically held in family-friendly tourist destinations—to reward them for not making waves.

Calling herself "a hard-nosed critic from the inside," Ms. Hu-DeHart said, "Let's face it: Diversity has created jobs for all of us. It is a career. It is an industry."

"We do what we need to keep our jobs," she said. "But as long as we keep doing our job the way we are told to do it, we are covering up for our universities."

"You all are covering up," she said. "You all are complicit in this."

She alleged that people who work in college offices dealing with diversity and minority issues help their institutions create the impression that they are far more concerned with diversity and equity than is actually the case. Her advice to the college chief diversity officers in the crowd? Quit and renegotate your contract to give you more power.

Chronicle of Higher Education subscribers can find full coverage of her speech here and an analytical story following up on the conference here.