|U. Texas Austin, where affirmative action is under fire.|
I have long argued that anyone who questions a school's desire for diversity (designed to benefit the school by providing a more democratic learning environment for students) should also question why schools have legacy admissions (designed to benefit the school through strengthening alumni bonds and donor support). Yet you rarely hear legacy admissions criticized, even though there is a lot of evidence that they are even a bigger problem for society than diversity admissions -- see Richard D. Kahlenberg's Affirmative Action for the Rich: Legacy Preferences in College Admissions for an extended critique, which you can find summarized to some extent in his 10 Myths about Legacy Preferences in the Chronicle. One reason why legacy admits go unquestioned is our increasingly privatized mindset, whereby Americans see anything that is good for a school's bottom line as beyond question, even if it is even more unfair than traditional affirmative action.