Admissions should be based only on merit


Last week’s issue of Maclean’s featured a story about the implications of growing Asian enrolment at top Canadian universities. The article argues that universities face the dilemma that the status quo is leading to a gradual voluntary segregation of the student population; yet there are no options to correct perceived imbalances. In the U.S., unofficial race-based quotas have become increasingly common among top-tier private schools to maintain a stable number of Caucasian students. Some worry these policies will eventually be adopted by Canadian universities.

The article pointed to trends most students take as rather obvious. Certain schools that specialize in mathematics and science have large and growing Asian student populations, while more arts-focused, partying schools like the University of Western Ontario are more Caucasian. It is also largely evident that there could be more interaction between the two groups, which often voluntarily segregate themselves.

For Caucasian students, though, to complain that they can’t compete with Asian students because of their focus on academics as indicated in the article is quite sad indeed. It may be true that culture and more disciplined parenting gives Asian students a stronger work ethic, but it doesn’t entirely boil down to race or culture at the end of the day, rather the choices of individuals.

If you are in university just to party, then enjoy delivering pizza upon graduation if you even make it that far. If you choose to take your education seriously, you should be rewarded both in class and in the job market. If that happens to skew admissions to favour Asians then so be it.

Universities should work to improve dialogue on campus to allow for better integration. To do anything else would at best dilute our education system by moving away from merit-based admissions and at worst be a terrible precedent of racial discrimination.

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