In a recent editorial, The Summer Pennsylvanian complains that in its student body, the Wharton School “has not achieved an equal gender ratio,” that simply “reach[ing] the 40-percent benchmark” is not enough, and so there must be ever greater efforts “to increase female participation” – to close the “The MBA gender gap.”
Wrong. This kind of bean-counting will distract, if not prohibit, Wharton from achieving what’s really important: recruiting and admitting the best qualified students, regardless of race, ethnicity – or sex. And it will result in more discrimination, not less.
To repeat: Admitting and recruiting the best qualified students should be the aim. The problem with setting a predetermined, politically correct goal for any demographic group is that, inevitably, it will result in discrimination in order to achieve it. Any goal becomes a quota, and quotas mean discrimination.
There is no reason to conclude that every demographic group must be interested in and qualified to attend Wharton in the same percentage in which is represented in the general population. Consider students’ backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences if you like – but don’t use race, ethnicity, or sex as proxies for how students think or where they come from.
Roger Clegg President and General Counsel for the Center for Equal Opportunity
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