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Gee: ‘College admissions needs to be a completely different system’

Nov 1, 2022, 1:12 PM | Updated: Nov 2, 2022, 9:09 am
College admissions...
College students attend a lecture class. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Should a student’s race be considered in college admissions? With the Supreme Court set to rule on affirmative action in Students For Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina and Students for Fair Admissions v. President & Fellows of Harvard College, Gee and Ursula took on this difficult-to-navigate topic on KIRO Newsradio.

Ursula asked Gee if it was time to end affirmative action.

“Yes,” Gee responded. “Let me be clear on something, the entire practice of college admissions needs to be re-examined. It needs to be overhauled. It needs to be a completely different system.”

Gee said that college admissions are too subjective. “All that needs to go, now.”

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Gee dislikes putting race on applications “because you can just say, I’m white, and you can be all types of ethnicities and be from all over the world and say that you’re white, but when you’re Black or African American on there, there it is, right there, you can’t escape that.”

Ursula likes affirmative action with caveats, saying there will always be some gaming of the system, offering a real-world scenario:

“Spencer is a three-sport varsity athlete with a 4.0-grade point average. She’s taken a bunch of AP classes. He has leadership roles in his school and does volunteer work, and he is Caucasian. Upper middle income has that access to everything from Kumon when he was a kid to help them excel in math to tutoring for college entrance exams. He’s done well on the ACT and has a 33 for a score.

“Jeanette also takes part in sports but has a slightly lower GPA. of 3.8. Not as many AP classes, but she has been working a full-time job to help support her single mom. She’s Native American, she volunteers a lot of her spare time helping tribal kids stay in school. She’s the president of that program, she would be the first person in her family to go to college. She has a good ACT, but it’s slightly lower than Spencer’s at a 32.”

Ursula explained that both Spencer and Jeanette were applying to an elite college with admission in the single digits. This university has a 50% white student population and is 4% Native American. She asked Gee who he would choose to get in.

“Now, in this case, I am going to give it to Jeanette,” Gee said. “And the reason why is because of the historical factor, and so many not getting that opportunity. So I am going to give it to her over the white kid that comes from the well-to-do upper middle class.”

Ursula said that was the whole point, but Gee went on to reiterate that the system needs to be overhauled. “I, as the admissions counselor, should not have that choice in my hands. I should not have that. That’s idiotic for this to continue to happen. I shouldn’t have that power.”

Ursula said, “If your goal as an admissions counselor is to try to get your school population to be as close to representative of the public, and also to try to help diversify, then it makes sense.”

Gee thought a lottery system would be a better option.

“I like the lottery system. My position is I don’t want names. I don’t want race on any application, that’s probably been the sneakiest way that white supremacy in this country has been able to show its head and rear its head,” Gee said.

Ursula said the jury’s out for her on a college lottery. “So anyone who has a minimum LSAT or ACT score, and higher than a certain GPA, can enter the lottery for free. So under that system, students would no longer have a legacy advantage.”

Gee was also for the lottery system. “Minimum test score, minimum GPA, you’re thrown into the lottery, there is an actual system. And now you are giving a getting away from it being subjective, the problem we have is the power of this being subjective in these decisions.”

Ursula thought the only way this would work is if all the elite colleges, all the highly competitive colleges, would agree to do it. She felt that wasn’t going to happen.

“The other argument against it is, now you have no ability to have kids with special talents, you might have an exceptional musician, or a writer or a leader who has exceptional leadership skills, but based on their GPA and based on their test scores, you aren’t going to get in or you’re going to have a very slim chance of getting in.”

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Gee: ‘College admissions needs to be a completely different system’