Legacy Preferences at State Universities
Here’s a question that I want to pose. There’s a pretty good argument that can be made against the constitutionality of legacy (i.e., children of alumni) admission preferences at state universities. My friend Carlton Larson wrote a great article about this years ago. Why, then, don’t we see any litigation challenging these preferences?
I guess the answer is that some people must feel that a successful challenge to these preferences would undermine the use of racial preferences in admissions. I’m not sure that’s true–I think they can be distinguished. Moreover, ending legacy preferences might improve diversity, though one would need data on how legacy preferences work to know that. Are there any other explanations?