The Center for Equal Opportunity, a group that opposes the consideration of race in college admissions decisions, released reports today showing what it says are large and likely illegal boosts that the University of Wisconsin at Madison gives to black and Latino applicants. The center periodically releases such studies, and they have prompted state debates about affirmative action policies. According to the center, the median composite SAT score for black applicants who are admitted is 150 points lower than for whites and Asians, and the Latino median SAT score is 100 points lower. At the law school at Madison, the center said that the data suggest a greater focus on race and ethnicity than on state residency (typically a key factor for public universities). An out-of-state black applicant with median grades and LSAT scores would have a 7 in 10 chance of being admitted, the center said. But an in-state Asian student with similar grades and scores would have a 1 out of 6 chance and an in-state white applicant would have only a 1 out of 10 chance.
Wisconsin officials said Monday evening that they had not had a chance to see and review the data. But The Capital Times reported that Damon Williams, vice provost for diversity, in a talk with student leaders, questioned the motives of the center. "These organizations have as their mission to systematically dial back the gains from the Civil Rights era," he said.