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Hornung, Notre Dame, and Affirmative Action

Hornung Regrets Remarks About Notre Dame

Former Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung expressed regret Wednesday for saying his alma mater, Notre Dame, needed to lower its academic standards to "get the black athlete."

"We can't stay as strict as we are as far as the academic structure is concerned because we've got to get the black athlete," Hornung said. "We must get the black athlete if we're going to compete."

Affirmative Action Connection?

Obviously, this sort of comment offends people. Hornung was "flooded with telephone calls from friends and media" after his radio interview in which he said that standards had to be lowered to make sure black athletes would be able to play on the school's football team.

But isn't this pretty much the same thing affirmative action does - lowers the standards for minorities so they "have a chance at getting in"? Although Hornung's motivation was to improve the football team and he didn't promote lowering standards only for minority applicants, he made it clear that minorities, specifically black athletes, were the reason the standards should be lowered. If it is offensive for him to say that black people won't be able to get in to play football unless standards are lowered, isn't it offensive to say that minority applicants can't get in if they are held to the "white" standard?

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Comments (4)

At least that has a net ben... (Below threshold)
Pete:

At least that has a net benefit to ALL students -- the improvement of the sports program brings in more money, more money is good for everyone.

Can other AA admitees to ND say the same about their contribution to the campus as a whole?

First, it's important to no... (Below threshold)
Robb:

First, it's important to note that Notre Dame is a private university that can pick and choose who it admits with impunity. While ND might undertake some initiatives to increase diversity on campus, and indeed it has, it can't really be compelled by the government to do so.

Second, affirmative action, at least as I understand it, is not designed to "lower standards" for hiring, admission, what have you. Instead, affirmative action comes into play where you have two equally qualified candidates for one position, one of whom is a minority. In that situation, affirmative action dictates that the minority applicant be chosen. That's how AA operates in theory, though perhaps not in practice.

That's how AA operates i... (Below threshold)
Boyd:

That's how AA operates in theory, though perhaps not in practice.

That's the key point, Robb. Hornung was talking about the practice, not the theory.

The truth is a mother, is i... (Below threshold)

The truth is a mother, is it not?

The University of Michigan, in its trial briefs in the undergraduate case, claimed that if they used grades and test scores as the sole criteria for admission, less than 25 Black students per year (out of what - 6000 or so undergrad admits?) would be admitted.

Paul Hornung is now getting abused for saying the same thing that Michigan asserted to defend its system of racial preferences. The only difference is he recommended it in the name of athletics, rather than the holy altar of "diversity".

You know, it isn't the racism inherent in preferences that bother me; or the fact that as a pale unit, I could be denied something I merit on the basis of race.

What really chaps my butt is the dishonesty of the racist preference mongers - they expect the rest of us to smile and wink and pretend that there is such a thing as good racism, and it's distinct from bad racism.

Meanwhile, black kids by the millions get locked into a lower socioeconomic class because the real discrimination - lousy schools - can't be remedied. You see, along with the dishonesty, that "it's just a little boost", we have to accept the premise that Black kids come out of urban public schools pretty decently prepared for college. This prevents us from even being able to say there is a problem. I suppose that's the other thing about preferences that really pisses me off.

As for a couple details, Robb. I've studied admissions rates, and affirmative action, at least at the elite 150 colleges around the country, isn't a tie breaker. It's a 150 yard head start for kids who wouldn't be anywhere near competetive otherwise.

As for Notre Dame being a private school - well, no, they aren't. There are almost no "public" schools in the entire country. Most all universities accept some federal funding. This makes them subject to Title VI, which prohibits any form of discriminatino in admissions. And while grades & test scores might be a fine criteria by which to admit students, you will get sued when somebody notices your top caliber school is nearly all White & Asian.




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