The mysteries of deciding which applicants to admit to UW-Madison may be revealed at this week’s Board of Regents meeting.
Not that much can be learned from a regent-requested report from Admissions Director Rob Seltzer. His vague, page-and-a-half effort barely scratches the surface in describing how the admissions process works.
His report, and also the admission brochure (of doctored-photo fame), both omit important information. One is the faculty legislation requiring eligible applicants to graduate in the top half of their high school class. Faculty legislation also requires that admission be based on likely success. This latter criterion is ignored, as the consistently low minority-graduation rates indicate.
Still another omission is any reference to state law on discrimination. In fact, Wis. Stats. 36.12 explicitly prohibits discrimination in UW admissions and programs based on race/ethnicity.
The Seltzer report’s incompleteness points to deeper problems. At a March meeting attended by several regents, Chancellor Wiley, and other UW officials, Seltzer claimed his office has no written materials describing the procedures and criteria used in admitting students — it operates using an “oral tradition.”
Is this any way to operate the admissions process that affects the lives of so many young people? How can they be assured fair and consistent treatment? What does this mean for accountability?
And, does the Seltzer report tell the full story? Let us hope the regents press for answers.
–W. Lee Hansen
Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics