Center for Equal Opportunity

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Racial Discrimination Found in University of Oklahoma Admissions

UPDATE (10/24/12) - CEO Responds to University of Oklahoma Statement

(Oklahoma City, OK)  A study released today by the Center for Equal Opportunity found evidence of racial discrimination in law, undergraduate, and medical school admissions at the University of Oklahoma.  Highlights from the study are attached.

The study, which analyzes data obtained from the University itself, found that African Americans were admitted to all three schools with lower academic qualifications than students from other racial and ethnic groups.  There was some evidence of preferential treatment for American Indian applicants as well.

 

The study was written by Dr. Althea Nagai, a research fellow at CEO.  It is available here on CEO’s website. The Oklahoma Association of Scholars helped CEO obtain the data.

The study will be formally released and discussed at 11:00 a.m. on Oct. 22, 2012 at a press conference in Oklahoma City by CEO’s president and general counsel, Roger Clegg.  The press conference will be held at: Hampton Inn Suites, 300 East Sheridan Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73104 in the Johnny Bench Room.

Linda Chavez, CEO’s founder and chairman, said, “It should not matter to a university whether an applicant has a particular skin color or what country his or her ancestors came from.  In an increasingly multiracial and multiethnic society, the use of racial preferences is unacceptable.” Roger Clegg said, “It is disappointing but not surprising that the University of Oklahoma uses racial preferences in admissions.  The fact is that most selective schools in the United States use these preferences unless a court or state law explicitly tells them not to.”

CEO has published similar studies of racial and ethnic discrimination in admissions to dozens of universities since it was founded in 1995.

The Center for Equal Opportunity is a nonprofit research and educational organization that studies issues related to civil rights, bilingual education, and immigration and assimilation nationwide.

Highlights of CEO Study on Racial Admission Preferences at the University of Oklahoma

Law School

  • Black-white median LSAT gaps of 6 (equivalent to a combined math-verbal SAT gap of over 100); undergraduate GPA gap as well.
  • 105 whites rejected despite higher LSAT scores and undergraduate GPAs than median black admittee.
  • Black-to-white odds ratio of 5.5 to 1 and American Indian-to-white odds ratio of 2.3 to 1.

If a non-African American applicant had the same credentials as the median African American admittee, he or she would have had a significantly smaller chance of admission. Specifically, while an African American applicant with these credentials would have a 60% chance of admission, an identically credentialed American Indian applicant would have only a 39% chance of admission, a Hispanic applicant only 24%, a white applicant only 22%, and an Asian American applicant only a 15% chance.

Undergraduate

  • Black-white and black-Asian ACT gap of 4 (equivalent to a combined math-verbal SAT gap of 160); high-school GPA gaps as well.
  • Relatively small but still statistically significant black-to-white and American Indian-to-white odds ratios.

Medical School

  • MCAT and undergraduate GPA gaps between white and Asian admittees versus URM (“underrepresented minority” – i.e., American Indian, African American, and Hispanic) admittees.
  • In the most recent year analyzed, 29 whites and 2 Asian American applicants rejected despite higher MCAT scores and undergraduate GPAs than the median URM admittee.
  • Odds ratios favoring URM applicants over white applicants were approximately 5 to 1.

If a white or Asian applicant had the same credentials as the average URM admittee, that applicant would have had a significantly smaller chance of admission. That is, URMs would have a 72% chance of admission, compared to 34% for an Asian American and 35% for a white applicant with the same qualifications.

Performance on the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam, Step 1:  Hispanics performed at roughly the same level as whites and Asians, but African Americans performed below all other groups (that is, they were the group most likely to fail or not take the exam, and their scores were the lowest); American Indians’ performance fell between the performance of Hispanics and African Americans.