University of Wisconsin Provost Paul DeLuca responded Tuesday to the Project on Fair Representation’s claims that UW is unfair in its admissions practices, criticizing the group assertions as attacking students who have been admitted to the university and uses statistics out of context.
The Project on Fair Representation is a legal defense foundation based in Alexandria, Va. The project launched a website Monday charging that the UW’s consideration of race and ethnicity in admissions decisions is unfair and illegal.
According to the group, the purpose of the website is to “educate the public about the unfair and unconstitutional admission policies” used by UW. The Project also launched websites Monday targeting the University of North Carolina and Harvard University.
DeLuca said these assertions are geared toward creating controversy.
“If you wanted to pick institutions with high contrast situations such as our university or North Carolina where the universities are fairly liberal in a conservative leaning state, you could use this opportunity to create controversy,” DeLuca said.
DeLuca said the group focused its arguments on statistics, instead of recognizing UW’s “holistic” approach to admissions.
The claims that the group has made diminish the achievements of students who have been admitted to the university, he added.
“They take the attitude that an admissions process that is based on anything but academic metrics is an unconstitutional process,” DeLuca said. “This is prejudicial to people who are admitted to the university.”
The organization hopes individuals who have been recently denied admission to these universities will reach out to the organization. The group has provided pro bono legal aid in various Supreme Court decisions on affirmative action, including Abigail Fisher v. University of Texas-Austin in 2013.
DeLuca said UW’s admissions process provides for a diverse and progressive campus.
“One of the things we insist on is a highly diverse student body, not just racial or gendered diversity, but students from all different backgrounds of experience, culture and socio-economic status,” DeLuca said. “We are looking for a student body that reflects the diversity of our world. We call this a holistic approach.”
[Photo by Jeff Miller/UW Communications]