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"Politifact" featured Dyson Professor Andy Crosby in "Is CPS the most understaffed district in Illinois?"

06/22/2018

"Politifact" featured Dyson Professor Andy Crosby in "Is CPS the most understaffed district in Illinois?"

Double-take

LaRaviere sees that conundrum as evidence CPS is wasting money because of unsound financial policies that drain resources to pay for adequate staffing.

But experts also point to other, less politically fraught, explanations.

Andy Crosby, a professor of public administration at Pace University in New York said urban districts are more likely to serve students from low-income backgrounds who may require additional resources to educate. Districts in large urban areas, he said, typically pay teachers higher salaries to compensate for increased cost of living as well.

But he also pointed to U.S. Census data showing Chicago was far from the biggest spender among large urban school districts. In 2015, the data show, New York City spent roughly $22,000 per student while Chicago spent less than $14,000.

Illinois data, meanwhile, show that Chicago’s per-student spending may be above average, yet there are many districts in the state that spend far more.

Another factor to consider when weighing spending at CPS is the looming shadow of high pension costs. Prior to changes made by state lawmakers last year, CPS bore the entire expense of funding the employer share of pensions for its teachers and staff. All other districts in Illinois relied on state taxpayers to pick up their pension tab.

Rebecca Hendrick, a professor of public administration at the University of Illinois-Chicago, suggested the pension overhang could be putting pressure on the district to lower operating costs to free up funds for pension payments. Those payments ramped up significantly during Emanuel’s second term as a consequence of years of contribution deferrals that began under Daley.

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"CNBC" featured Law Professor Paul Rafelson in "Why Amazon is the winner of the Supreme Court sales tax ruling"

06/22/2018

"CNBC" featured Law Professor Paul Rafelson in "Why Amazon is the winner of the Supreme Court sales tax ruling"

Paul Rafelson, a law professor at Pace University, says the Supreme Court decision doesn't really address this issue, "punting" most of the questions related to marketplace sellers.

In the marketplace, Amazon facilitates the sales of third-party merchant products, so it's unclear whether Amazon or the third-party seller should be responsible for collecting tax.

"Amazon can hide behind its marketplace to claim tax exemption because it's still going to pretend it's not a retailer — and not responsible for collecting sales taxes," Rafelson said. "There's still a lot of legal questions that need to be answered."

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"The Journal News" featured Law Professor Vanessa Merton in "Housing separated immigrant children in Westchester a long-standing practice, advocates say"

06/22/2018

"The Journal News" featured Law Professor Vanessa Merton in "Housing separated immigrant children in Westchester a long-standing practice, advocates say"

The revelation this week that immigrant children separated from their parents at the U.S./Mexico border are being held 2,000 miles away in Westchester County follows a long-standing practice, immigration advocates said.

Local youth facilities like The Children's Village in Dobbs Ferry and Lincoln Hall in Somers have been housing unaccompanied young immigrants for years under a contract with the federal government, they said. 

And it's also been standard practice for immigration officials to detain immigrants anywhere in the country, often miles from where they were taken into custody.

“Understand that it’s a very common, longstanding practice for ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) to move people all over the country, long distances from where they have families, for example," said Vanessa Merton, director of the Immigrant Justice Clinic at Pace University. "As long as they are in custody, this is not something unusual for them.” 

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Press Release: Educators Discuss Ways to Keep Students in School at Pace University’s 2nd Annual Retention Conference

06/21/2018

Press Release: Educators Discuss Ways to Keep Students in School at Pace University’s 2nd Annual Retention Conference

Students who complete a college degree will earn an average of $20,000 a year more to start than those who only complete some college.

That was one of the many facts that educators from across the region learned when they gathered on June 15th for Pace University’s second annual Retention Conference: “Student Success and Persistence to Graduation.” More than 200 educators from 32 public and private colleges shared best practices on how to keep students from dropping out of school at the conference hosted by Pace University’s Office of the Provost. Among the schools attending were Mercy College, Temple University, Lehman College CUNY, St. Thomas Aquinas, Dominican College, Manhattanville College, the College of New Rochelle, California State University, Fresno and the College of Mount Saint Vincent. The day included keynote and luncheon presentations as well as breakout sessions and a closing round table discussion.
 

Pace University President Marvin Krislov, J.D., one of the day’s keynote speakers, said colleges needed to try harder to make students feel welcome and to connect them to resources to help them stay in school.

Nationally, only 60 percent of college freshman make it to their sophomore year. Students drop out for a variety of reasons including lack of financial support or social and academic difficulties.

“It’s so easy for people to fall off,’’ said Krislov, adding that many students who run into problems are not aware of the resources available to help them.

Krislov gave two examples: one of a student who dropped out after running out of money who was not aware of scholarships that were available, and another student who was in jeopardy of dropping out because of difficulty juggling his schedule. Pace was able to help both students by connecting them to the appropriate resources.

He said that Pace University’s retention rate continues to improve in part because of increased faculty-student engagement, financial counseling and the Pace Path with mentorship, experiential learning and individualized plans for academic success. While the improved retention rate is a major accomplishment, he added that colleges, including Pace, still needed to do a better job.

Rockland Community College President Michael Baston, J.D., Ed.D., the morning’s other keynote speaker, said that helping students to feel connected and welcome in their environment was important. He said that his school works to find out student interests and to connect them to clubs and social groups that match those interests. Baston said that pairing freshman with mentors from their home high schools was another way to make new students feel connected.

Nira Herrmann, Ph.D., Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Pace, said that many students failed simply because they had difficulty navigating the academic bureaucracy. She gave the example of a college senior who told her he was planning on attending graduate school but was not aware that the deadline for applying had long passed.

“Many students do not really understand the rules,’’ she said. “When we think we are communicating, we are not.’’

About Pace University: Since 1906, Pace has educated thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in Lower Manhattan and Westchester County, NY, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. A 2017 study by the Equality of Opportunity Project ranks Pace University first in the nation among four-year private institutions for upward economic mobility based on students who enter college at the bottom fifth of the income distribution and end up in the top fifth. www.pace.edu

Follow Pace’s Office of Media Relations on Twitter at @PaceUnews or on the web: www.pace.edu/news.

 

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"Westchester County Business Journal" featured assistant vice president for Student Success Sue Maxam's piece "Sue Maxam: The path to retaining students and keeping them engaged"

06/19/2018

"Westchester County Business Journal" featured assistant vice president for Student Success Sue Maxam's piece "Sue Maxam: The path to retaining students and keeping them engaged"

More than 200 educators from 32 schools were represented at Pace University’s second annual retention conference on June 15, as well as several nonprofit organizations, all grappling with student success and its relationship to retention and degree attainment. Participants came to Westchester from as far as California and South Carolina for the one-day conference.

Student success and persistence to graduation is a top priority for institutions across the country and certainly for the many colleges in Westchester. Fewer than 40 percent of students enrolling for the first time at a four-year college graduate in four years. Add in community colleges, and more than half of students who start college drop out within six years. With increasingly diverse, vulnerable and at-risk student populations attending college, now more than ever it is important for faculty to effectively and creatively engage their students inside and outside the classroom.

The student body at Pace University mirrors national averages with several key contributing factors of student persistence and success: More than half are the first in their families to attend college and also more than half are low to moderate income. Many are returning adult students, veterans, students of color, international students and immigrants.

With a diverse student body with varying needs and challenges, college administrators and faculty members must seek ways to engage all students for both the success of the students and the institutions they attend. The numbers prove that an education is the best path forward and college graduates consistently out-earn those who have only a high school degree. Pace University is ranked the number one private institution for upward economic mobility in the country based on data from the Equality of
Opportunity Project.

So what can educators do to ensure student success? One of the biggest influential factors, according to national studies such as the annual National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), is the quality of interaction between faculty and students. I presented at the retention conference, along with several colleagues and a Pace law student on “Pace Path to Retention Success: Student-Faculty Engagement Outside of the Classroom.” We highlighted the connection between faculty engagement and student success and retention and offered best practices.

Demonstrated faculty concern for students has a positive, statistically significant effect on student persistence even after adjusting for a variety of pre-college characteristics, including students’ intellectual ability and academic preparedness. It has been found that student-faculty interaction outside the classroom correlates more strongly with college satisfaction than any other single variable. The frequency of student-faculty interactions correlates significantly with every academic achievement outcome, including college GPA, degree attainment, graduation with honors and enrollment in graduate or professional school.

College faculty members can interact with students in meaningful ways, including by serving as faculty advisor for a student club; participating in summer college immersion programs for incoming students; participating in residential life programs or as a faculty-in-residence; chaperoning travel courses; and leading student academic teams such as Model UN or the Federal Reserve Challenge Team. It is also important to engage from the start by meeting with prospective students during campus visits and participating in new student orientations.

Other best practices include making students aware that office visits are welcome, writing personalized notes to offer support, guidance, or positive reinforcement. Faculty were also encouraged to participate with students on faculty-student research teams. The use of technology is also recommended to increase interaction between professors and students. Online chats and “office hours” work well as a way to engage students any time of the day.

Presenters at the conference were from all over the country. Five of the presentations were facilitated by Pace faculty, along with administrators and students. These included presentations on effectively engaging and supporting veteran students as well as mindfulness-based stress reduction for students to increase resilience to stress and promote retention.

The Pace Path offers solutions to these issues with an individualized plan for success for every student that includes formalized opportunities for faculty-student engagement. It includes planning, mentorship and coaching and experiential learning. 

The goal is for students to have an academic foundation that prepares them for real-world experiences. These experiential learning opportunities are different for each student based on areas of academic and professional interest. These range from internships to participation in Pace’s winning Federal Reserve Challenge Team that competes nationally on economic policy recommendations, to the environmental policy clinic where students have written bills that have become New York State law, to criminal justice students working in area prisons with service animals.

Student-faculty interactions outside the classroom keep students engaged and committed. Real-world experiences give students the tools and skills to tackle the job market with confidence after college. As educators, we need to do more to make these opportunities available for all students.

Sue Maxam is the assistant vice president for Student Success Undergraduate Education at Pace University where she has worked for 28 years in a variety of progressively responsible leadership roles relating to student engagement, retention, advising, academic enrichment/support and career services. In her current position, she provides oversight to five units focusing on creating a transformative student experience. Maxam has created and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Peace, Justice and Sustainability, and is active in a wide variety of social justice initiatives on and off campus. She has won numerous awards for leadership, mentoring, student engagement, advising and teaching, including the 2015 NYS ACE Women’s Network Catalyst Award for Women Leaders.

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"The Journal News" featured Law School's Cindy Kanusher in "New Pace Women's Justice Center walk-in clinic aims to serve victims of domestic violence"

06/19/2018

"The Journal News" featured Law School's Cindy Kanusher in "New Pace Women's Justice Center walk-in clinic aims to serve victims of domestic violence"

After a late-night shift working as a health aide, Precious Simpson came home tired; she had barely slept for a few hours when she was dragged out of bed and beaten up by her husband.

It was 5 a.m. and he had returned from another night of heavy drinking.

A friend who happened to be in another room heard the confrontation and decided to intervene. She was attacked, too. Blood oozed out of the friend’s forehead.

“I had black and blue all over me. My children were scared. I was catatonic,” said Simpson. “It was enough. I had reached my breaking point.”

When the friend called the cops, her husband fled the scene.

Simpson stuffed a few things into her children’s book bags and along with her three children, the oldest of whom was 15, and without knowing where else to turn, headed straight to the local social security offices.

“I didn’t know about any resources. I didn’t know whom to call or where to go,” said Simpson, 53. “In the Caribbean community, if you are abused, you keep it yourself. You go to birthday parties, baby showers or whatever and you have a black bruise, you lie about it. You say you bumped into the wall or a patient hit you. As much as I live in America, I’m still in my own community and was not connected. Mental health, domestic abuse and rape are not talked about in my community.”

Simpson was eventually directed to the Pace Women’s Justice Center, a nonprofit which provides legal and educational services for victims of domestic violence and elder abuse in Westchester and Putnam counties. The attorneys at the center helped her obtain a restraining order against her former husband and provided her with legal representation in her divorce in 2016.

On June 29, the center, located at Pace University’s law school campus in White Plains with satellite offices at the family courts in Yonkers and White Plains, will officially inaugurate a walk-in legal clinic in a newly renovated 4,000-square-foot space across from its old offices.

Two years ago, the center won a $100,000 grant from Impact100 Westchester — the local chapter of a national women's organzation that makes grants through collective funding — to renovate the center's cramped basement space in the old administrative building, also known as Gail’s House.

As plans were being made for renovations, Pace University decided to make an investment in the clinic.

The university donated $1 million to fully renovate a former student center building on its campus, outfitting the space with private meeting rooms, a conference center, and a kid-friendly waiting area.

“The university has truly made a commitment to the work we are doing,” said Cindy Kanusher, the executive director of Pace Women’s Justice Center. “It’s not only to the center, but to the community. They understand that this is helping everybody in the area.”

The renovations will allow an additional 500 victims to be served at the facility, she said.

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"FIOS1 News" featured Seidenberg's Pace students working with grades 1 through 6 from the White Plains STEAM Academy

06/14/2018

"FIOS1 News" featured Seidenberg's Pace students working with grades 1 through 6 from the White Plains STEAM Academy

Seidenberg's Pace students worked with grades 1 through 6 from the White Plains STEAM Academy. Together they used legos to create drones and robots. Professor Pauline Mosley said this program helps students engage and gain interest in programs such as science, technology, engineering, art and math.

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"The Pleasantville Patch" featured Vanessa Herman and Bill Colona in "Pace Gets $250,000 Tech Grant Through Murphy"

06/14/2018

"Pleasantville Patch" featured Vanessa Herman and Bill Colona in "Pace Gets $250,000 Tech Grant Through Murphy"

From The Office of Senator Murphy: Notebooks and laptops have replaced sneakers and basketballs at Pace University's Willcox Hall. Thanks to a $250,000 grant from Senator Murphy,

Willcox Hall, which once served as a gym, has been transformed into a lecture hall and multi-purpose room. The renovation produced a much-needed academic classroom that promotes a collaborative active learning environment.

"Education is the key to success, particularly in this day and age in which technology plays such a vital role. Providing the funds to refurbish Willcox Hall to turn it into a state-of-the-art facility is an investment that will ultimately benefit both students and the community," said Senator Murphy. "The renovation of Willcox Hall will help Pace's ability to attract students who will contribute to the Hudson Valley's economic development by living and working in the area."

"We are very grateful to Senator Murphy for his ongoing support of Pace and his efforts to secure funding for this worthwhile endeavor," stated Vanessa J. Herman, Assistant Vice President for Government & Community Relations at Pace University. "The space is extremely popular with our faculty, students, and staff and we are delighted to be able to host community events in the newly refurbished space."

"The renovations to Willcox Hall have provided Pace with another way to connect with our community and have helped transform our campus," said Bill Colona, Director of Government and Community Relations at Pace University. "Thanks to funding from the State and Municipal Facilities Program and Senator Murphy, our newly-renovated spaces provide the community with opportunities to come to Pace for meetings, hearings, ceremonies, and conferences that are open to the public, and for Pace students, faculty, and staff to gather for special lectures, workshops, and programs."

The Willcox Gym was the primary facility for Pace's Athletics Department. In 2002, the Athletics Department relocated to the Goldstein Health Fitness and Recreation Center, with the Willcox Gym still used for sports and events during the winter months. A new facility to house the entire Athletics Department was built in 2015, providing an opportunity to repurpose Willcox Hall.

As Westchester County's largest university, Pace is committed to providing a world-class higher education while also ensuring that the University's graduates obtain skillsets that meet the demands of the regional economy. Pace hosts hundreds of events each year, many of which are open to local communities.

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"New York Law Journal" featured Haub Law Professor Mimi Rocah in "Do Talking Head 'Experts' Have Special Ethical Responsibilities?"

06/12/2018

"New York Law Journal" featured Haub Law Professor Mimi Rocah in "Do Talking Head 'Experts' Have Special Ethical Responsibilities?"

The criminal justice system is grounded on a basic premise—I dare say, a possibly false premise—that jurors totally obey a judge’s instruction that they should not read, listen or watch anything about the pending case. When deciding a defendant’s guilt or innocence, jurors should only consider what is presented from the witness stand and, after instructions by the judge are given, what her fellow jurors say about the facts presented and the defendant’s guilt.

Assuming, as I do, that jurors do not completely avoid television, newspapers or internet trial coverage while serving, one wonders to what extent talking head or press-quotable lawyers, especially in high profile cases, are doing (albeit unintentionally) to potentially poison jury deliberations. And while journalists themselves, by their reportage, may seriously impact deliberations and therefore trial results, can’t we assume that jurors are likely to zero in on the opinions presented by lawyers whose biographical references describe them as former prosecutors, or defense lawyers?

Now, when I—a reasonably sophisticated consumer of courthouse reportage given my own experience as a lawyer—see who the talking head is, I, along with most readers of this article, am in a relatively unique position to handicap what they will say, and where their biases may lie. Some are former prosecutors who, only recently having left “the Office,” may even slip by saying, “This is what we would typically do.” Others are dyed-in-the-wool defense lawyers who show no particular objectivity when being quoted on a prosecutor’s technique in dealing with a vulnerable witness. Some are academics, who may look at things without practical application, so much so that they might—theoretically—convict their own grandmothers if presented with the right set of facts.

Put aside those of us who read the Law Journal. We are lawyers, generally able to separate the wheat from the chaff of the commentator du jour and, importantly, a very small segment of the jury pool. But what happens when, in high profile cases, talking-head lawyers are quoted in the tabloid press, The New York Times or Wall Street Journal, or any one of the several cable shows that make up our 24-hour news cycle? What is the obligation of lawyers to actually know the facts behind what they’re talking about in any specific case? Is it appropriate—indeed, ethical—for a lawyer to simply wing it, as seems so often to happen with some commentators? Or to opine, without first warning, “I know nothing of the facts or evidence, but here is what I think.”

The Rules

The Rules of Professional Conduct (NY and ABA Model Rules) are of little help as they do not address the ethics of acting as a third-party commentator on pending cases. Indeed, a lawyer’s duty of competence (at 1.1) runs only to his client. Prohibitions concerning trial publicity (Rule 3.6) address only those cases in which the lawyer is participating. There is however the catch-all: A lawyer shall not “engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice” (Rule 8.4).

The ABA Criminal Justice Standards for the Defense Function addresses the issue head on. It provides that attorneys should educate the public and that a defense attorney “uninvolved” in a matter may offer “generalized media commentary.” The Standard warns: “Counsel acting as such … should make reasonable efforts to be well-informed about the facts of the matter and governing law.” 4-1.10(i) (see also, Prosecution Function, 3-1.10(i)).

Commentators Must Be Informed

In a post-OJ Simpson trial series of articles, Professors Erwin Chemerinsky and Laurie Levenson discuss the important role of lawyers in educating the public. But they also raise a host of ethical questions about lawyers acting as commentators and call for lawyers to adopt a voluntary set of rules. “Ethics of Being a Commentator,” 69 Southern Cal. L. Rev. 1301(1996) (Ethics I); 37 Santa Clara L. Rev. 913 (1997); and 50 Mercer L. Rev. 737 (1999).

In 1998, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) did just that. While not in complete agreement with the professors, it created Ethical Considerations for Criminal Defense Attorneys Serving as Legal Commentators, notwithstanding some members’ “strong reservations about suggesting any limitations on public comment by attorneys.” NACDL News, “Ethical Considerations for Legal News Commentators Approved,” Champion 7 (1998).  The NACDL rules spotlight counsels’ “special obligation to educate the public” and, as is relevant here, requires its member-commentators to provide competent commentary—they should be “fully informed as to the legal and factual issue(s) under discussion.”

According to Professors Chemerinsky and Levenson, competence is the number one requirement for a legal commentator. Referring to several “painful examples” during the Simpson trial, they conclude, “[a] commentator does harm if he or she misstates the law or misstates the facts of what occurred.” They offer four key requirements: substantive knowledge of the law, practical experience in the courtroom, familiarity with the proceedings, and a willingness to do the research necessary to answer questions. Moreover—and this may be the hardest of all for some of us—a “legal commentator should be prepared to decline an offer to provide legal commentary when a matter is outside his or her experience.” Ethics I at 1319-1321.

Influencing a Sitting Jury

Importantly, “The commentator must realize that his or her role may at times be circumscribed by the overriding societal interest in providing both sides in the case with a fair trial.” Thus, a commentator should exercise caution and should not—through his crystal ball—try to predict the outcome. Ethics I at 1309, 1311.

Having said that, and given my personal belief that juries do not put their heads in the sand while sitting on a case, I asked noted staff writer for The New Yorker and senior legal analyst at CNN Jeffrey Toobin what he thought on the subject. While Toobin is a lawyer with considerable experience as a former prosecutor, he made clear that his role is as a journalist, not a legal commentator. He actually disagreed with my view about the potential influence the press or a lawyer-commentator may have on a jury, but he was clear about the role lawyers—and journalists—play:

I think the proper prism to analyze the issue is through responsible behavior by lawyers and by journalists. I think lawyers and journalists should behave responsibly regardless of how many people are watching. … I guess my own view is that both lawyers and journalists should approach their public statements with a great deal of humility. I don’t ultimately know what evidence is going to be presented at court. I don’t know for sure how a jury is going to respond to it. I think some lawyers like to make very categorical statements about good for the defense, bad for the prosecution, … based on having read a couple articles in the newspaper. And I just think that’s unwise. I don’t think it’s a violation of legal ethics. I don’t think it’s unduly influencing a jury pool. I just think it’s a bad practice.

I also spoke with Mimi Rocah, a former federal prosecutor, Distinguished Criminal Justice Fellow at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and MSNBC Legal Analyst for her thoughts:

Lawyers who speak publicly have an undeniable responsibility to be informed about the facts and law because there is always the potential that a then-serving juror may absorb their commentary. Even more likely, and perhaps of even greater consequence, people who are not currently serving as jurors may hear a talking head’s views on a case or on the workings of the criminal justice system and then apply what they think they learned in public service or, more broadly, in their interactions with the law and law enforcement. In other words, lawyers who speak publicly have a unique potential to influence people’s views not only as jurors, but as litigants and as citizens. Former prosecutors, in particular, must recognize that we represent the public face of government lawyers because those who continue to work in government are extremely limited in what they can and should say publicly. Especially now, when the Department of Justice and law enforcement are under constant attack from high profile voices, I view the former-prosecutor-talking-head as having a unique obligation to inform and educate a curious public about the high ethical standards and motivations of DOJ lawyers working on cases that are so much a part of public discourse.

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"The Wall Street Journal" featured Lubin Professor Chunyan Li in "An Asian-American Awakening"

06/12/2018

"The Wall Street Journal" featured Lubin Professor Chunyan Li in "An Asian-American Awakening"

Have progressives poked a sleeping giant? A thousand New Yorkers showed up Sunday at City Hall to protest Mayor Bill de Blasio’s bid to substitute de facto racial quotas for a merit-based admission test at the city’s elite public schools.

Two things make the protest striking. First, the protesters were Asian-American. Second, the big local dailies, save for the New York Post, didn’t cover it.

New York is not the only place where Asian-Americans are revolting against racial preferences as a tool to help minorities. Four years ago, a backlash by Asian-American lawmakers in California helped defeat a proposed constitutional amendment that would have repealed a state prohibition against considering race in education and other government functions. Meanwhile, a lawsuit accuses Harvard of discriminating against Asian-American applicants in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

“For years Asian-Americans have been viewed as the ‘model minority’—you know, quiet and well-behaved,” says Chunyan Li, a professor of accounting at New York’s Pace University. “But when we see the effects of social engineering on the future of our children, we can get nasty against the politicians too.”

It wasn’t supposed to work like this. In theory, only the white patriarchy loses from affirmative action, and all people of color share the same interests, regardless of their history or socioeconomic status or achievement.

But affirmative action as practiced today by the American education establishment is blowing a big hole in these assumptions. As Ms. Li notes, many Asian-American families now see that one minority’s floor is another’s ceiling—and that the effect of race-based admissions is to set one group against another. It is all the more galling for the signal it sends, which is that if you happen to be the wrong minority, you will be penalized for your hard work and achievement.

Certainly this is the implication of Mr. de Blasio’s effort to change the admission standards for the city’s eight most selective public high schools. At the moment, admission to these schools is determined by the Specialized High School Admissions Test. The progressive dilemma is that the outcomes on this test do not match their desired racial outcome.

Take Stuyvesant, the best-known of New York’s specialized schools. Asian students account for 72.9% of the student body, against 2.8% for Latinos and 0.7% for blacks.

Asian-American parents—who aren’t always as affluent as the stereotype—fully understand what this means: Any change that introduces criteria other than merit will mean that qualified Asian applicants will be denied seats in favor of unqualified black and Latino ones. The signs Asian-Americans waved at Sunday’s protest reflected this understanding: “Keep the test,” “Excellency is color blind,” and “I also have a dream.”

As these Asian-Americans were protesting in New York, a lawsuit by a group called Students for Fair Admissions has been working its way through pretrial discovery. The suit accuses Harvard of unlawfully discriminating against Asian-Americans today in the same way the Ivy League once limited the admission of Jews.

The group notes that roughly 20% of applicants Harvard admits are Asian-American today, just as in 1993—when the Asian-American population was half what it is now. The higher percentage of Asian-Americans represented at universities that do not use race (e.g., 43% at Caltech) suggests Harvard is deliberately keeping the number low. A 2009 Princeton study of admissions at leading universities found that Asian students had to score 140 points higher on their SATs than whites to have the same chance of getting in.

In addition to the lawsuit, a 2015 complaint filed by a coalition of more than 60 Asian-American groups has led to an investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Civil Rights. Asian-Americans are questioning the orthodoxy of racial preferences.

Harvard argues that it is a private university and its admissions practices are “trade secrets” it should not have to make public. But the Civil Rights Act applies to private institutions as well as public ones, and Harvard wants it both ways: It takes half a billion public dollars a year, yet it does not want to have to explain what looks to be a glaring gap between qualified Asian-Americans and admitted Asian-Americans.

This Friday, Students for Fair Admissions will file for summary judgment, arguing that the facts are so compelling that a trial is not necessary. The district court is not likely to agree. But given the intensive discovery process—Students for Fair Admissions has taken 40 depositions and looked over thousands of internal documents—a trial would be of great interest to the Asian-American community, and could prove highly embarrassing for Harvard.

“We may be considered the successful minority,” says Ms. Li, “but we are still very small politically.” Perhaps that’s beginning to change, as Asian-Americans awaken to what the last acceptable racial discrimination is doing to their children.

Read the article here.

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