Sunday, December 9, 2012

My Book on Calvin Coolidge

It's been awhile since I've blogged here. I've been busy.

Here is why: my first book, Why Coolidge Matters: Leadership Lessons from America's Most Underrated President, available for pre-order now on 

Sunday, September 30, 2012

An Update and a Request

Dear friends,

I've moved all of my work over to the Daily Caller and the Orange County Register. If you want to receive one of my emails, write me at chuckwalla1022-at-gmail dot com.

With respect,
Charles C. Johnson

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

President Pam Gann Admits To Goals, Targets for Minorities on Campus

Please see bold. I will post more when I can.

Interview with Pamela Gann by C. Apollo Morgan 2/11/03
Transcript by Tom Meyer 2/12/03

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CAM: Um…So, to begin with, we understand that there has been an ad hoc diversity committee that was established in the fall of 2001 and we’re curious if you could share with us the timeline of the creation of this committee and if indeed that committee is where the Irvine grant began with and who serves on the committee and what its purposes are.

PBG: Ok, I may not be totally factually accurate so if you want to—I’d ask you to do the following: if you in fact want to use this question then, I think I’ll need to do a fact check. But I don’t want to do a fact check if you’re not going really use it.  So I’ll answer it to the best of my recollection but still—I think one of the fundamentals of journalism is factualness, being very accurate.  But my side is really your side

Um…We had, ummm…several different kind of campus issues that came up in my second year as president.  It raised issues—I would say really it must be about campus climate.  Quite a lot of it was much more student-orientated than anything else.  Umm.. there was the, for example, and managing the message board issues.  Both from the standpoints of balancing free speech, but also having a community in which everyone feels welcome.  So that was an issue that was pretty regularly coming up.  There had been the issue with the—what do you call the newspaper, there’s like an issue in the Collage or something [garbled] there was articles that were meant to be clearly satire.  And there was a satire piece that really backfired.  And in--by a CMC student.  And I got questions from campus, I got questions from off campus about that.  And there was also a Saturday program that involved gay-lesbian issues, this is all over like the same semester(100) and there was some student conduct issues, not from participates, but non-participants in that.  So there had been just a number of things like that.  So as a consequence I did two things.  One was, every—beginning of every fall semester I sent a memo to the whole community, which you’ve been getting, about free speech, harassment and climate.  And that’s posted on my website.  About what we expect here.  And so I am very care to be totally respectful of free speech, but ask people to basically use common sense, ‘cause you might do something that’s quote “protected”, but it may not be in best interest the overall climate of the community to do that.  So—if you read that memo—that was a consequence of a whole series of things that happened and I did that last fall of 2001 and sent it out again this fall.  The second thing I did was just a president’s ad hoc advisory committee I put together.  It was faculty and a few student administrators—in fact we haven’t met this year.  But that—following that whole semester’s incidents, I invited a group of faculty and some administrators to come together in an ad hoc advisory committee where we could talk through some issues.  And come up with some suggestions.  So, for example, on the student online newspaper we asked Cynthia Humes, whose the associated dean for academic computing, to work on that issue a little bit.  And the question was trying to figure out what the new, cuase by that time we made the transition, what their own guidelines were going to be—public, their own public guidelines were going to be about how they handle the message board.  So that we could have a dialogue with them, not to tell them what to do, but to talk to them about concerns and what would be appropriate times when they probably, I mean they got to be aware—they got to monitor the board or they could be subject to issues like slander, libel, harassment and other things as well.  So, that’s a student run, not college run operation.  So that’s a topic we took up, for example.  Now, we used that group to talk about campus climate issues generally, and there was some—I believe as I recall there were some independent studies or theses that were being done by students on campus climate and we looked at some of those, and so on it went.  Then we did receive an invitation from the Irvine Foundation to apply for a grant with them.  And I did talk to that committee about what areas they thought would be useful to put in a grant.  And, as I recall, we also— (200) I think the drafts of the Irvine proposal—this is
where I need to check factually those—again, I ask you again, if you want to use this part of the conversation, let me go back to check our files on this—that we used that committee as one sounding-board, not only for idea generation but also to look at some of the drafts.  I believe that some of them looked at some of the drafts.  It’s not—it wasn’t a policy-making committee or anything, it was an advisory committee for the president, and, as I say, I don’t think we’ve met at all this whole academic year.  I just thought there was some issues going on at the time—it had more to do with student affairs and student climate issues than anything else on campus at the time.

CAM: Do you think that those problems that were happening then—do you think that those are reoccurring problems, or just once-in-a-while things that are more or less beyond the administration’s [control]?

PBG: I think they are—they can become, on any campus—predicting them and so on, who knows?  On the other hand, we did—Tory Sun did a formal student climate survey last year, and we looked at all the results from that.  You—I would recommend you talk to him about it, cause he would—I mean, he was the one who did it.  There was preparation—I believe this ad hoc committee also looked at the draft of that survey and made suggestions as well.  But if you look at the results from that survey there are some climate issues on campus as well, that were noted by students.   And so we looked at some of the—as I say, [garbled] independent study or thesis climate work, and we looked at that work.  Just--I think we have some on-going work to do here on student climate.  It’s not a major, major issue with students, or with most students but it is an issue with some students.  And, as a community, we should be attentive to whatever student issues and concerns are—whatever nature they are.  Whether its satisfaction with the athletic program, or the debate program, or community service, or career service, or climate, or curriculum, whatever.  I mean, if you’ve chosen to study here, and be a member of our community, I think we have an obligation to any student to listen, and see whether we have agreement with or not with it. 
So on climate issues, yes.  I think—continuing to work on climate issues is, I think, something the college has to pay attention to.  We have issues—there are some evidence that some minority students—this was a study done by [Name] two years ago off of the regular student surveys—there is evidence that some groups of minority students have statistically significant different—social science methodology being applied—have statically significant difference in their viewpoint towards their educational experience here at CMC.  Well, that shouldn’t be ignored.  We should—we should study that and see.  So it’s not to be ignored.  So there’s a variety of different kinds of studies that have been done (300) that I would say would evidence we have issues – I wouldn’t say major problems – but we should be as attentive to those as we are, as I say, to the quality of the coaching instruction that we get, or faculty teaching, or anything else.  It’s all part of a resident college.

(310) LM: You mentioned an invitation from the Irvine Grant to—from the Irvine Foundation reply to this grant, did CMC solicit that invitation or was it—did it sort of come out of the blue?

PGB: Again, I probably need to check that factually, it—I don’t remember soliciting it.  The fact is, this program has been on-going at Irvine for several years.  Jerry Garris can give you all the background and details factually better than I can on this.  If you—the Irvine Foundation has a history of supporting private higher education in California, not public, but private higher education.  So with respect to this particular program they have already issued millions of dollars in grants under this diversity initiative.  I mean everything from—if you go on their website or any other documents, we have a whole list of all the grants they’ve made under this program, and to whom.  We were actually in the last cycle of grants.

LM: I see.

PBG: We were they very—we are—we were—we have received a grant, we were in the very last cycle.  I believe Pomona and CMC were in the last cycle, all the other Claremont College were earlier, including the Graduate University.  Stanford has had more than one grant.  USC has had more than one grant. They’ve had millions of dollars to Stanford and USC, for example.  So, their intent was to reach all of the institutions that they have supported in the private sector in California, I think, through that grant program.  And so they were cycling so many through their—their budget.  That would be what I would’ve thought was going—and so we were contacted in the last cycle and said “if you want to apply now because this program is ending in several years.”

LM: Right.  Couple other things about this: can you tell us what The Consortium For A Strong Minority Presence at Liberal Arts Colleges is?

PBG: Yes, but you would be better to talk to Dean Ascher.

LM: Ok.

PBG: About that.  But, it is an organization—again, I will do my best on the facts, but I—everything I’m saying—because your asking me very important questions and—but they’re also very factually specific.
LM: Sure, we’ll check this with…

PBG: But Dean Asher’s more directly involved.  Jerry Garris can tell you more than I can about the Irvine Foundation.  Dean Ascher could tell you even more than I can about this.  But it is—I don’t know who started it, I don’t know who founded it.  All I know is that a consortium exists, and it is housed administratively at Grinnel College.  And it has members if you will, liberal arts colleges, top liberal arts colleges throughout the country are there.  And what it is trying to do is match—since we don’t have graduate schools or graduate programs in our liberal arts colleges, so we’re not like a university where you have graduate student automatically in your whole university.  So you have all these liberal arts colleges without graduate students, and the idea then is to have available to you resumes of PHD graduates from the research universities, because that’s where people go to get their PHD available in a network so that you can look at them as possible hiring candidates in whatever way you need to hire (400).  So, they’re usually have just—are about to finish or have just finished their PHD in normal research universities and its to connect the liberal arts colleges with the research university doctoral candidates who are coming out.  It also would help the institutions themselves, we hire a number of vistors and teachers every year and, on the other hand, it helps those candidates have some research or teaching experience as well.  And in a number of our fields, not all of our fields, but in a number of our fields we only hire permanent faculty who have had post-doctoral experience, anyway.  So the candidates themselves benefit from having post-doctoral experience for their own job purposes, and then we get the, if you will, pre-packaged access, if you will to that information, which makes it convenient.  And most of our hiring—a lot of our hiring is done through quote “packaged” access, if its—I mean the Modern Language Association is where you go if you’re an English major, to process through all of that to get a job.  Or the American Economics Association runs all these hiring conventions everywhere.  So there’s all these models of how you pool information out there to help you with hiring and this is another model of what I would call pooling information.

LM: Right.  Ok.  So CMC is a member of this of this consortium.

PBG: [hums in approval] And we are a member a member of it.

LM: Ok.  What are going to be the duties of the new Assistant Dean of Students of  Minority—for Mentoring of Programming.

PBG: Again, I would recommend that you talk to Tory Sun…

LM: Ok.

PBG: He was written a job description for that, and there will be a search committee established this semester.  So, he would be the best to person to talk to about that.

LM:  Alright.  Is it true that while the Irvine Foundation grant affects hiring practices for certain future factually, including visiting and post-doctoral positions that grant application wasn’t formally discussed in advance by the Appointment, Promotion, and Tenure committee? (451)

PBG: It was not formerly discussed with the ATP committee.  It was discussed with, I believe, the ad hoc diversity committee.  It was formerly discussed with elected administration committee and the faculty, and it was on numerous occasions formerly discussed with the Academic Affairs Committee on the board of trustees, as well having been fully sub-circulated before submitted to the entire board of trustees.  And it was not, correctly, formerly processed through the APTC.

LM: Now, CMC is taking an action that’s going to affect the practices of faculty hiring, is that, would you say, typical for it not to be a matter that’s discussed by ATP first?

PGB: I would say that it would be typical, yes, to discuss things through the ATP process when they are certainly written policy decisions, and you will interview and hear some faculty take the position that nothing should ever be done, with respect to anything doing with hiring faculty that does not formerly go through to committee.  I’ve been told that by faculty and you’re going to hear that by faculty.  With respect to—this is not a written rule or regulation, a written policy of that kind.  Secondly, we have in our written policies that we will affirmatively pursue candidates broadly, that means including affirmatively pursuing women, affirmatively pursuing minority candidates, that is in our written policy.  You will hear some faculty members take a very narrow interpretation of that, as opposed to a broad interpretation of that…and the other thing that you may or may not hear from other faculty is that I do not agree with the faculty opinion, and have so stated publicly, that takes a narrow viewpoint that only the full professors of the APT have an interest in the diversity of our faculty.

LM: Ok, just to nail you down on this, can sort of elaborate your opinion for us on why this it wasn’t necessary to go through APT? 

PGB: I have been giving you all my reasons: that it did not change a written policy, on the other hand we have a written policy that incorporates that the departments have to prepare affirmative action hiring plans and so on…that is in the policy.  You can see this program or the Irvine Grant as a way that we are promoting affirmative behavior, not changing policy…  Also, our strategic planning documents specifically state that, unanimously approved by our board of trustees, that it expects us to develop, over time, a more diverse faculty.  That has been in this plan and the past two plans; it is in writing.  It is the affirmed policy of our board that this college is to develop a more diverse faculty, that is a board policy.  Because of all of that, I disagree with any faculty member who says that this whole issue is only a hiring questions before the APTC.  To the contrary, it is a board policy.  It is also of interest to alumni…all faculty, all students, all of those who have an interest in this college.   So I don’t see this issue as just in the domain of a certain sub-set of this faculty.  Now, some of the faculty will disagree with me…this is an issue about the whole future of the college: who teachers here, what kind of community we’re going to have, and that is not just an APT decision.

CAM: Why do you think we have to affirmatively seek out  minority and female candidates?  I wanted to get your thoughts on the matter.

PGB:  That’s a complicated question, in a way, and it is not easy to verify it some kind of empirical way, so I’m really drawing much more on sort of, my 28 years in higher education, as a faculty member, and as trying to run something now for 15 years…First of all, let me say that you have to recruit all faculty members.  This is a very competitive market place.  Now, the econ department is a really good recruiting department, and it you talk to them, its all about recruiting; it’s not about women and minorities, it’s about recruiting.  [gives anecdotes]
[603] So the first point I want to make is that if you’re a really good place and you want to be out there recruiting the best, most superb faculty you can, every position with everyone is a recruitment…Number two, with respect to women, I think this college is in reasonably good shape with respect to its attractiveness to women, but one has to remember that it was a men’s college at one point in time.  I think we’re very co-ed now. [stats on women, women “firsts”]  So if you’re recruiting a woman to think about coming here, she may sort of look at the history, the context, the overall demographics, what’s going on in her particular department that’s recruiting her.  Some women, might not look at it at all, some do…[It’s] a recruitment issue…Now with minority candidates, for some of them, it won’t matter, but for some of them, they would look at the demographics of our campus and say “why aren’t there more minorities here? Is there an issue in my department?” [there’s also some anecdotes here]

[Leo asks whether she agrees or disagrees with the letter of dissent sent by the faculty]

PBG: [700].  I do agree that hiring someone on account of her gender—I mean literarily a hiring decision, is not correct…I agree with that.  Where I disagree, and I have interviewed a number of faculty that have signed that statement…but the reasons that people signed that statement fall into four categories, so you cannot put all the people who signed that statement into “they signed it because they’re in uniform opinion about why they signed it, because that’s not the evidence I have from individually interviewing them. 

“A board mandate to obtain a more diverse faculty.”  As we narrow the pool down, at the end of the day you shouldn’t hire the candidate because of her gender.  But getting women to apply here, yes.  So my position has been with the faculty quite clear.  A agree that you don’t believe you should hire some one on account of her gender, but this is about recruiting

[740] preferential treatment? 

PBG: If the department believes that a woman is the best candidate—or since the Irvine grant is limited only in its way only to minority candidates—if, in recruiting, the department felt that the best candidate was a minority candidate, and that’s who they want to hire, then we can use the funds to pay for that appointment.  But it’s in that order.

[771] PBG: …I do believe that for a CMC student to be well-educated today, and we’re educating leaders for business, the professions, politics and public affairs that we need to have in our curriculum, ways in which diversity issues get incorporated in mainstream…curriculum…if you were studying labor economics – wage rates, men and women, blacks vs white, completion of education [and] what does that mean with respect to wage returns, political psychology…politics and ethnithity, [for instance] the census issues are huge with respect to race, as we just know from the last census…[Professor] Peter Scary wrote a whole import book on that.  It’s important that our students study politics, think about the census and race, and it’s a very complicated issue as to what to take into account, what not to take into account. [800]…CMC has historically not bought into the system of segregating diversity topics into ethnicity study centers…and I think that was exactly the right system.  Because theses kinds of issues, from an educational standpoint, if you segregate them out you’re likely only to reach a small subset of our students who would even chose to take those courses…If you make sure that these kinds of issues get mainstreamed into curriculum through modual development, which is what that grant is about, then all CMC students have opportunities to look at issues such as gender and public policy…or race and public policy issues…[The grant is] an incentive, because it’s money, for faculty members to do…research in areas that relate to diversity, such as labor economics…and it would help faculty members take the time to think thoughtfully about how to develop modules in their courses to take up diversity issues…

[Gann compares to Freeman grant]

[863] CAM: Do you think that CMC is insufficiently diverse [racially]?

PBG: I don’t think there’s some golden number out there, I think what we do is contextualize and then think about our future and our mission.  We are geographically located in a state with no majority…in a county where there is no majority, and the largest number are Hispanics.  We are located in a state that will become majority Hispanic…about 55% of our applications are out of state, but 45% are in state.  So in order to be pragmatically a successful institution we are going to need to be attractive to the most talented students available to us and…they are and will increasingly be over time…a more diverse applicant pool.  So, the Irvine Grant does not see the diversity of the student body as a super-big issue for us because, in fact, CMC one of the most diverse liberal arts colleges by students in the country, but it is something to pay constant attention to, so we do have something in there to address that. 

[900] you need to continue to be attractive to the best possible students to enroll here from CA and the country.  Now, on faculty diversity, that’s quite different.  I do not think our faculty is diverse enough, our board does not think it is diverse enough, and our strategic plan does not think that its diverse enough.  So on the faculty side I do feel that…for educational outcome reasons of our students and for pragmatic reasons of security of the institution and its future and continuing to be an attractive place…we will be better off to have a more diverse faculty, both educationally and pragmatically.

[920] Question about national diversity.

What’s really important and where the big buck are is permanent hring.  Now you’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars.  The strategic plan defines diversity very broadly, and I’m defining diversity very broadly. [959]

[987] LM: With respect to minority student enrollments, we hope to reach an enrollment goal of 37% by the end of the three-year period of the grant.  We believe setting a numeric goal for underrepresented students will focus greater attention on increasing the enrollment of students of color.  The goal is based on our intention to increase the enrollment of under-represented students by 2% during the three years of the grant.  In other words, CMC intends to apply racial quotas to the student admissions process under this grant.  Is that correct?

PBG: That’s totally incorrect.

LM: Can you explain to us why it would be incorrect?

PBG: Did it say quotas?  You read that into it.

LM: I read that CMC intends a specific numerical increase in underrepresented students .

PBG: What that is about is if you have an objective of trying to increase anything—if you have some objective out there, it tends to motivate people and make people work harder…The grant is about a fly in program to help us attract and recruit minority students.  It’s all about recruiting.  Everything is a funnel, whether it is students, or whether it is faculty.  It’s like this.  So, we send out brochures to sophomores—we 100,000 new brochures that are going to go out in the mail.  Now, we have all kinds of mailing lists: PSATs, SATs, I mean, I don’t know all of the filtering devices that admissions office uses and so on.  So it’s like this: fly-ins McKenna weekend, minority weekend that’s all about this and moving down the funnel to get them to want to be here.  So the point there is if we recruit harder, and these are recruitment moneys—What does the grant ask for?  It’s recruitment money for admissions.  What we’re saying is, if you recruit harder, you should have an outcome change, and this is a reasonable outcome measurement.  Now, some of the faculty, in that statement, objected to counting anything, because if you counted it would suggest that you really are going to be doing things on account of race, for example, you can read that into it.  But counting has multiple functions.  Counting is important because…it motivates and helps focus people on goals and objectives, and secondly, in the employment or faculty recruiting area if you had a case filed against you where a disappointed minority candidate, who did not get a job offer, and said you discriminated against him or her—I’m not saying that one does discriminate, but if you become a defendant in a law suit of that kind the fact that you were self-conscious about what you were doing in that area by keeping a numeric record doesn’t mean that you’re hiring on account of race, it shows that you are behaving affrimitively toward your recruitment…there is a major distinction between that [and quotas] [end of side one].

[side two]

LM: Ok, let me clarify [this] with you: you’re unwilling to say that there is a quota system involved, but—

PBG: I’m not only unwilling to say, I can assure you that there is no quota system.  We have no quotas…in admission at CMC.

LM: Just to clarify that, you’re saying that while, you have no quotas, without even seeing an applicant pool for the next three years, you’ve set a designated amount to increase minority admitted students—without even seeing those applicant pools.  It’s not a quota, but you’ve set a designated amount.  Is that correct?

PBG: It’s a motivator target.  It’s not a quota system; not in anyway whatsoever.

LM: But this is, in fact, something that you have, in effect, pledged to the Irvine Foundation, that their money will be used to help accomplish.  Is that right?

PBG: In the grant application we have set a goal…to work to increase the diversity of our student body.  Yes.  And we applied for recruitment money, on the basis that recruiting is the way you get people to apply—

LM: But this isn’t about recruiting, this is about admissions, and it’s about percentage designations—

PBG: It is recruiting minorities into the pool.  I said it’s a funnel.  What is the Irvine money for in the admissions area?...And if recruit…all students are going to improve the quality of our applicant pool if not numbers. So part of what we’re about—generally, in admissions we’re continuingly trying to recruit the right kind of student for CMC, given our mission.  It’s all about recruiting.

LM: I under stand  

[135] “bachy case”? “race and gender are noted”

[168] “There are many characteristics that we take into account, athletics, alumni children, race, gender, APs…”

[200] why Hispanics and Blacks accepted at a higher rate

[260] divisive effect on the faculty?

[320] then catching her with the narrative.

[380] does not agree that is it illegal

[410] does want to know race and gender, but only for recruiting faculty applicants, not eventual hiring.

[475] students complaining about faculty advisors not of their own race.

[505] critical mass…do we want to consider a student who considers race above quality?

[560] faculty’s charge of “overt and covert discrimination”

[593] Gann’s answer 

Dean Vos Interview with Claremont Independent on February 26, 2003 (They Discuss Irvine Grant, Racial Preferences)

Dean Vos

What role?

“Relatively minor role. I would say that the major role was played by Jerry Garris and a lesser extent Matt Bibbens.”

“If you are currently on one of our other Irvine grants, for some other initiative, we will not give you a new grant while you’re still receiving the money from the earlier grant.”

Minority brochures…wanting for a while?

“Not necessarily, in fact, I admit to being conflicted myself on the very subject of minority specific brochure, we’ve never had one. And I have talked with Jerry since this grant was given to us and we’re not sure if we’re going to have one. We might end up instead deciding to use that money to hire a photographer someone to take more good pictures of our student body.”

Show minority students interacting with white students in class.

Why the minority specific brochure bad?

“Well there in lies the problem. A school like Carlton for example, that has a minority specific brochure, will talk about its academic support services for minority students. And in the very fact that you talk about that in the minority brochure but you don’t talk about that in what I’ll call the main recruiting brochure that is sent to everybody, you’re implying that minority students are more likely to need this academic support than anybody else, and that’s a form of racism. That sends a signal to minority students that they’re not as strong academically in that we know you’ll need this help, but we’re telling you that we have it, so come over here to our college. I think that’s a huge mistake.”

“I think fortunately that CMC is too small and has always resisted that form of balkanization is what it boiled down to and we want to have everybody be part of CMC and part of the overall community. And you walk into the dining hall and you see lots of different people with different facial features and colors of skin sitting together. You don’t see a black table here, a Mexican American table here, like you see at big universities oftentimes in the dining hall.”

Specific questions from minority students?

(Nothing too interesting.)

“I don’t think so”

“In general, that it’s perhaps true that minority are more concerned with [campus diversity and tolerance] cause they’ve been in the minority so they’re more sensitive to that. But that’s why I think it would be better to have that message received by better photography in the main piece, not in some piece that’s only targeted to minority populations.”

Why minorities in fly in program?

“Because we want more.”

“Because we’re living in a very diverse culture. We don’t have very many minorities here and we think it would be beneficial for all of our students to learn from being around all different types of people.”

The money, will it augment or replace?

“I’d say both. We’ve already been doing this, but on a limited scale loaded by budget realities. This funding will not start a new program but this funding will allow us to continue a program that’s been successful so far in its first two years of operation and allow us to expand it to invite more students to campus.”

Importance of race?

“Hmmm, not very important. It’s a factor, as is geography and testing and transcripts and essays and fit and leadership and athletic activity, and so  we look at a lot of things…and one thing we look at is race. But it’s not a very big deal, it’s not the most important factor, but it’s one of 15-20 factors that we look at.”

“We don’t have a point system.”

How long has race been a factor?

For a while…at least since 1957.

Racial quota system?

“No there’s not and I think there should not be. I don’t think there ever has been. I can speak with certainty for my 16 years here, having come here in 1987, that there’s not been.”

From the data, “It’s pretty clear that there’s never been a quota or even a numerical goal.”

What difference is quota vs. goal?

“The meaning. They have different meanings. Quota means that you stop at that number, you reach your q-u-o-t-a. Quota is often associated with the verb “to reach.” Goal is something you are shooting for and there are times when you reach it and times you don’t reach it but you always have it out there.”

“Extend the net more widely.”


Asian Hispanic etc disparities?

“A lot of things explain that. Fit is a big thing. A very big thing for us especially because of CMC’s market niche. And again, this is a very, very, very dangerous generalization, but I would suggest it just might be true that Asian and Asian American students are sometimes more involved in solitary activities than Latino students or white students.”

“Violin or student government? Go to San Marino high school, there’s nothing wrong with violin it’s just not as valued by CMC as student government. So at San Marino high school look at the orchestra and a large portion of students in that orchestra are Asian students and they practice the violin by themselves and they do solitary things and they tend not sometimes, that’s why I said it was very, very, very dangerous, I’m not trying to sound racist here, but it’s more likely than an African American student did not play the violin but maybe got involved in a athletic team, got involved in debate, got involved in student government, did things that we in our value system at CMC perceive to be more CMCish fit kind of leadership, group oriented extracurricular activities that we feel are perhaps more inline with our mission. ”

Academic standards reduced for minority students?

“No, not at all.”

Hispanic anomaly?

“There’s no formula”

Mentors and role models?

“I don’t have a great deal of empirical evidence. I have a lot of anecdotal evidence.”

“It is sporadic, it doesn’t come up many many time a day…or week”

I hear about it “Maybe 25 times a year.”

Anything else in Admissions role in grant in general?

“I think that the overall student program, the part in student affairs, the part with the faculty, the whole package, will make CMC a better college, so I think it’s a good thing.”

“Admissions can only show people what we have, admissions cannot change what we have.”

“My job is improved if we are a better college.”….Mr. Vos does not want to mislead…

Narrative issues?

“Those were my ideas?”

See them changed?


I don’t want to change [intentional political balance.] I think it makes us A. a better college that we have a very, very even balance of political points of view and I think it gives students a better academic experience that we have this balance in point of view. I also think it helps us differentiate ourselves from most other national liberal arts colleges because we have this balanced point of view. I used to work at Cornell. Cornell is Pitzer’s politics and Pomona’s academic rigor combined. I was really, really mad one time when I was there when we had some freshmen come from New Jersey. He started a young republicans club on campus and he was harassed so badly by the intolerant liberals that he transferred to Rutgers his sophomore year. I happen to have a more liberal than conservative personal political philosophy, but I try not to let that get in the way of my profession. And my profession is to have a better college, a better student body more diversity and that includes political diversity as well. And I’m really happy that we’re one of the few national liberal arts colleges that has this as part of its reputation that attracts the Apollo Morgan’s and the Jason Lippenberger’s and also the whoever your equivalent is in the liberal side of the house.

…I like to think I don’t have an equivalent…Apollo’s insight

“Generally, not always true, but generally African Americans more so than Latinos, African Americans tend to come from a more liberal perspective and so they are sometimes worried that this place is only ‘a place where conservative students are happy.’”

Need to sharpen thinking skills since you will need to defend your views.
Critical mass?

Hard to pick up a quote…but there should be enough for dating opportunities.

“More than two.”

Monday, February 6, 2012

President Gann Excludes Racial Minority Policy in Conversation With CMC Forum, Claremont Port Side

On February 2nd, 2012, The CMC Forum had this revealing paragraph in an article it wrote about President Gann's handling of the SAT fraud.
In 2002, the Board of Trustees adopted a general policy statement to guide the admissions office on shaping incoming classes. Some considerations include leadership, diversity, and support for co-curricular programs. According to Gann, one change in this policy since the beginning of her presidency was to increase the number of international students.

Was President Gann lying in her closed door meeting with The Claremont Port Side and The CMC Forum when she suggested that the only change that had occurred to admissions was the inclusion of international students in the statistics?

It appears so. In this article from the February/March 2003 issue of The Claremont Independent, Claremont McKenna's racial preferences regime is laid bare, adding another instance of Claremont's target of a more racially diverse campus as evidence of what I detailed in a Big Government piece. We still don't know definitively if Claremont McKenna was excluding racial minorities from its SAT scores, as other schools have done in the past, but it is seeming more and more likely. 

CMC Admissions Office Uses Affirmative Action
Program Will Increase Under Irvine Foundation Grant

By Jason Lippenberger
Publisher, CMC ‘04
C. Apollo Morgan
Editor-in-Chief, CMC ‘04, and
Leo Moniz
Contributing Editor, CMC ‘03

The CMC Admissions Office currently considers race as “one of many factors” in admitting students. The Administration vigorously denies that the College uses quotas, which could be illegal. But an investigation of admissions statistics from recent years reveals that black and Latino applicants are admitted at significantly higher rates than white and Asian candidates.

The Admissions Office is due to expand its affirmative action policies under the terms of a new “Campus Diversity Initiative” grant, which calls for a 2% increase in non-white enrollment per year during the next three years. CMC has also declared its intention to attain a student body that is 37% non-white.
These changes are part of a larger campus diversity effort that is funded in part by the James Irvine foundation. The new initiative includes a plan to pay the travel costs of some non-white applicants who visit the CMC campus. The College is also considering creating a new admissions brochure for prospective non-white students, although Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Richard Vos now suggests those plans may be discarded.

A review of Admissions Office statistics shows that CMC admits applicants of different races at widely varying levels. Between 1997 and 2001, 42% of Hispanic applicants and 36% of black applicants were accepted. During the same period, 29% of white applicants and 23% of Asian applicants were granted admission.

The consistency of the numbers from year to year is striking. The admission rate for Hispanic applicants has by far the lowest standard deviation of .009. White students followed with a standard deviation of .023, Asian Students with .025 and black students with .04.

Standard deviation measures the differences of the numbers from year to year. A low standard deviation means that the numbers for each year are closer together.

Administrators deny that the disparities are the result of a quotas or manipulation.

“I can assure you that there is no quota system,” declared President Pamela Gann.

Vos explained that race is “a factor, as is geography and testing and transcripts and essays and fit and leadership and athletic activity.” He added, “it’s not the most important factor, but it’s one of 15-20 factors that we look at.”

Gann asserts that CMC “follows the concept of the Bakke case,” referring to the landmark Supreme Court decision that has governed the use of affirmative action for the past 25 years. She describes the plan to increase minority enrollment by 6% over three years as “a motivator target.”

According to Jerome Garris, an Assistant Vice President who handles foundation grants for the College and co-authored the Irvine proposal, “There isn’t any effort to arrive at some specific number. For Irvine, we felt we had to put some numbers in here because they, frankly, asked us to do that.”

He added, “it is not a quota, it’s not something that we are inexorably committed to.”

Asked why Asians have such a low admittance rate, Vos commented, “A lot of things explain [the numbers]. Fit is a big thing—a very big thing for us especially because of CMC’s market niche. And again, this is a very, very, very dangerous generalization, but I would suggest it just might be true that Asian and Asian-American students are sometimes more involved in solitary activities than Latino students or white students.”

Based on the thousands of applications he has reviewed, Vos says “it’s more likely that an African-American student did not play the violin but maybe got involved in an athletic team, got involved in debate, got involved in student government, did things that we, in our value system at CMC, perceive to be a more CMCish fit. Leadership, group-oriented extracurricular activities that we feel are perhaps more in-line with our mission.”

Administration officials defend CMC’s affirmative action practices as educational and beneficial.

Dean of Faculty William Ascher told an interviewer, “you have been shortchanged by CMC not being able to have access to diverse perspectives that are rooted in different ethnicities and different experiences in people by virtue of their race.”

According to President Gann, the Administration believes “that the best educational experience for every student that comes here is to have a racially diverse student body from the standpoint of residential life and the educational outcomes of our students.”

During the Irvine grant application process, CMC prepared a “Narrative” that summarized CMC’s racial diversity, “barriers” to increasing racial diversity, and actions necessary to racially diversify the campus.
The “Narrative” noted that while non-white enrollment has decreased in past years, the Admissions Office “increased [its] efforts during 2001-2002 with some success.” During that year, the percentage of admitted black applicants increased by exactly 10 percentage points to equal the admittance rate for Hispanic students. Dean Vos said that the jump was not produced intentionally.

“Compared to previous years, in 2001-02 we targeted the stronger, more academically-qualified minority students, especially in the African-American category,” he said. “As we expected, the applicant pool decreased in size but increased in quality. Yes, it was intentional to admit the best-qualified candidates. No, it was not intentional to increase the percentage admitted by exactly ten points—it simply turned out that way.” In fact, the number of black applicants shrank to 89, the lowest number in the past 6 years.

According to the “Narrative,” there many barriers to non-white student recruitment. Besides the idea that a lack of non-white role-models in the faculty is a barrier [see cover story], the “Narrative” also cites CMC’s “suburban location, liberal arts mission, and small size,” the small number of black students (meaning that “a critical mass number is rarely achieved”), CMC’s “intentional political balance,” and the fact that CMC is increasingly recruiting from outside California.

The Irvine grant was intended to fund the creation of a “minority student recruitment and admissions brochure.” But when asked about these brochures, Vos said that he has reservations about producing them.
“I admit to being conflicted myself on the very subject of a minority-specific brochure,” he said. “We’ve never had one. And I have talked with [Garris] since this grant was given to us and we’re not sure if we’re going to have one. We might end up instead deciding to use that money to hire a photographer to take more good pictures of our student body.”

This “better photography” would consist of racially-diverse groups of students, but Vos emphasized that the pictures would not misrepresent the composition of the student body.
When asked about what is included in a brochure aimed at non-white students, Vos said that there were no specific plans but he did offer an example from another college.

“A school like Carlton, for example, that has a minority-specific brochure, will talk about its academic support services for minority students. And in the very fact that you talk about that in the minority brochure but you don’t talk about that in . . . the main recruiting brochure that is sent to everybody, you’re implying that minority students are more likely to need this academic support than anybody else, and that’s a form of racism. That sends a signal to minority students that they’re not as strong academically in that ‘We know you’ll need this help, but we’re telling you that we have it, so come over here to our college.’ I think that’s a huge mistake.”

Another Irvine-funded initiative to racially diversify the student body is a “minority fly-in program.” The plan will continue and expand a program CMC started in the fall of 2002, which pays the expenses of some non-white applicants who fly to southern California to see the College. (CMC pays only driving expenses for prospective students who live in the region.)

When asked why the College would fly in non-white students but not white students, Vos replied, “Because we want more minorities. Because we’re living in a very diverse culture. We don’t have very many minorities here and we think it would be beneficial for all of our students to learn from being around all different types of people.”

The “Narrative” points out that according to U.S. News and World Report, CMC is the eighth most “diverse” liberal arts college in the nation. On the west coast, only Whittier and Occidental are more “diverse,” according to the magazine.

Aside from the low number of non-white role models and non-white students, the only other changeable “barrier” to increasing non-white enrollment is the College’s “intentional political diversity.” No one, though, seemed willing to change that.

“Generally—not always true—but generally, African Americans—more so than Latinos—tend to come from a more liberal perspective, and so they are sometimes worried that this place is only a place where conservative students are happy,” Vos said.

“I don’t want to change [the political balance],” he continued. “I think it makes us a better college that we have a very, very even balance of political points of view.” Vos added, “I also think it helps us differentiate ourselves from most other national liberal arts colleges.”

Assistant Vice President Garris also commented on the idea of political balance as a “barrier” to diversity. “I guess the reason is they tend to see us as conservative, which, relatively speaking with other institutions, we are,” he said. “And I think what [the Admissions Office is] hearing from a lot of minority applicants is that that isn’t always their political orientation, let’s say.”

“I would argue that you’ve got to confront that head on,” he continued.

“What you ought to do with that is say ‘Look, here is why that is a positive point. If you go to an institution where everybody has the same opinion, and it’s the same as yours, what kind of . . . value is going to be added to your educational experience’?”

Michael Wilner Pleads No Contest to Misdemeanor Battery and Obstruction of a Police Officer

Michael Wilner was finally sentenced last month for the assault he committed last year and which I wrote about here.

According to a source close to the case, Wilner pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor in battery and misdemeanor obstruction of a police officer. He did not get jail time but is required to do community service and anger management.

Wilner was last spotted writing for The Brooklyn Ink, but his name has been taken down from its writers page. It appears, from Googling, that Wilner has also contracted an online reputation management firm to conceal this blot on his record.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

"Gaming the System"; Claremont Independent Warns of CMC's Approach to U.S. News & World Report Rankings in '09

From The Claremont Independent's November 2009 issue. The Claremont Independent has always warned about the dangers of following the U.S. News & World Report rankings that were Gann's gospel. We were right; she was wrong--and now she's got to go.

Section: Campus News
Headline: Gaming the System
Subheadline: Why we need frank dialogue about CMC's approach to the U.S. News and World Report rankings
Author: Helen Highberger

Each year, the grinding wheel of U.S. News and World Report once again squeezes out a shiny sausage of college rankings.  This article aims to show that, as the old saying goes, you wouldn't like to see this sausage being made - but most people gobble it up without question. Prospective students, parents, college administrators, and to some extent the general public meets these rankings with the utmost seriousness, even frenzy. Websites like overflow with panicked high school students, measuring their worth through the Procrustean lens of SAT scores, and judging the colleges to which they apply no less numerically. Colleges put a great deal of maneuvering into the process, adjusting class sizes, admissions procedures, and allocation of financial resources in hopes of boosting their rank for the next year. Have you ever assumed something based on U.S. News's rankings? What are they even based on? Let's read the ingredients on this package of sausages and see what they're really made of.

I asked Dean of Faculty Gregory Hess what factors contribute most to maintaining Claremont McKenna's good ranking (up to 11 this year). The first thing he mentioned was our low faculty-to-student ratio, 8.5 students to 1 faculty member. He explained that this gives Claremont McKenna an average class size of 16.  In U.S. News terms, these numbers are part of a college's "faculty resource rank." Three other factors that help us in the rankings, he said, are CMC's graduation rate, its place in the Claremont consortium and the added resources from that connection, and CMC's selectivity rate.

This all sounds very reasonable, but there are many other factors that go into the sausage-making of U.S. News's rankings.  For example, the weightiest of U.S. News's six factors is a "peer assessment" sent to academic officials, asking them to rate the programs at other colleges. It is revealing that U.S. News values the opinions of academics at rival colleges over the opinions of, say, people who have actually attended the college, given that their rankings are intended for prospective students, not prospective academics.  

How about the faculty resource rank mentioned above? Not what it seems. The faculty-to-student ratio, a common and relevant benchmark, makes up only 5% of the faculty resource score. The largest single contributor to the faculty resource rank is faculty pay. Another interesting choice, since becoming a liberal arts faculty member at all is not a salary-maximizing move in the first place. I've always heard faculty members classify pay as a minus, rather than a plus, of their career of choice, suggesting that faculty do not choose their positions primarily by this factor.

While most schools would like to have other academics think well of them, and strive to compensate their faculty well, the student selectivity rank, as it affects college policy, has the potential to change a college's very motivation. 90% of this score is determined by entering students' SAT I or ACT scores and whether they graduated in the top 10% of their high school class. This is dangerous, especially for a specialized, elite school like CMC, tempting admissions officers to overlook leadership experience and other intangibles in favor of admitting students with good standardized test scores.

The problem, as I see it, is that U.S. News's rankings seem more calculated to the prestige of the college than the quality of education a student can receive there.  I have attended three colleges - Princeton, Harvey Mudd, and Claremont McKenna - and if I were to rank their quality of education in my chosen major, my ranks would be the opposite of U.S. News's. If I were hiring a graduate of one of these colleges, my assessment of the value of their degree would be so different than U.S. News's that I cannot help considering their rankings as positively worse than no rankings at all.  

The craven respect paid to the colleges ranked highly by U.S. News is worse than useless. Every level of education, from prospective college students to employers, is polluted by the gross misconceptions inherent in these rankings. To turn down a highly-ranked college for a lower-ranked one is regarded as some mixture of stupidity and insanity. Yet the real-world experience at the various colleges is enough to cause serious cognitive dissonance in a world so dominated by these rankings. Princeton students are no more interested in the life of the mind than Claremont McKenna students. Harvey Mudd students generally blow those of both other colleges out of the water in terms of intelligence and work ethic. Yet Princeton is ranked #1 in its class and Harvey Mudd is ranked #14 in its.  

What is the sensible thing to do in the face of such a nonsensical attempt at a value judgment?  U.S. News's rankings are not going away anytime soon, and they're not going to stop affecting how some people think about college. Still, we can choose not to give credence to these rankings.

The Claremont McKenna administration does not admit to being affected by U.S. News's rankings, and school officials including Registrar Elizabeth Morgan refused to speak to the CI about the issue. Yet the facts speak for themselves. Few students can help but notice the strangely artificial 19-person cap imposed on Fall semester class sizes, the term during which rankings are calculated. Unless the College has developed a fetish for prime numbers or a superstitious case of vigintiphobia, the only plausible explanation is that it is gaming the U.S. News rankings, which specifically take into account the percentage of class sections with 19 students or fewer. As a college, we must have open dialogue between students, faculty and administration about the effects of the rankings and how they shape academic policy and CMC's educational experience. We may not be able to shut down the sausage factory, but we can stop eating the sausage - at least it starts to include some real meat.