For God, For Country, and For Yale: How top colleges figured out how to turn away Jews

The effect of the modern “diversity” criteria used by most top tier schools arguably has the strongest adverse effect on Asians, but also adversely affects whites. I’m not convinced that’s necessarily a bad thing as I generally think affirmative action is justified, but it’s something that shouldn’t be swept under the rug when discussing the cost/benefit of affirmative action policies.

I’d be interested to know which schools that weren’t Ivies had quotas or discriminating admissions policies.


“I would be celery salt.”


And here I thought the admission criteria for getting into Yale were all found on your daddy’s paycheck. I guess it’s more complex than that!


If anyone wants a more personal look at this process, I’d suggest reading Edward Frenkel’s article about his experience applying to Moscow State.

It’s always amusing to uncover similarities between the United States and the Soviet Union, given their mutual history. People are shite everywhere.

1 Like

Absolutely this still exists. Now it is used to discriminate against not just Jews but Asians and others. The Ivies are terrified at being overrun by Asian kids from the West Coast.

Source: I once dated an Ivy-League admissions officer.


Other Universities accepted Jews, and that was precisely the ‘problem’ that alternative admissions practices—such as the essays you describe at Chicago—were designed to minimize. Use ‘holistic’ admissions techniques and you are no longer constrained by objective factors like standardized admissions exams.


This is still happening, but to different groups.

The anti-semitism is, thankfully, long gone.

However, there is strong statistical evidence suggesting the Ivy League instituted an “Asia Quota” in the late 90’s at about 25%.

This isn’t hard to see, literally. Look the the student bodies of places that pretty much admit on test scores and grades, such as the elite tech schools like MIT, Caltech, Harvey Mudd or the “public Ivies” such as Michigan, Berkeley, University of Virginia, etc.

You will quickly notice a strikingly difference in the visages of these undergrads and the Ivy league.



(full disclosure: I’m a middle aged white guy)

1 Like

Speaking of whom…

1 Like

The anti-semitism on campuses isn’t gone. Not in the slightest. The Jewish frat, AEPi, had swastikas painted on their house this past Yom Kippur. Numerous groups stage anti-Israel protests before and during the High Holy Days and then point fingers in accusation and condemnation when we can’t show up in “solidarity”. University professors spout Holocaust denial and historical revisionism of documented Jewish history.

Anti-semitism on campus gone? I wish.


No, UChicago didn’t have those quotas, ever. Not for race, religion, or sex/gender. I’m sure there were other schools like that too, but I don’t know them by name.

Yes, they were in the minority (for not discriminating against minorities…hah!). But the example was there for other schools to witness.

Surely a lot has happened since 1722.

Jews were allowed to become citizens of the empire thanks to the Plantation Act of 1740.

1 Like

Thanks for the clarification, Biblio.

I meant that anti-semitism is gone from the admissions process.

I should have been clearer.

Fair enough. Apologies for the snarling tone, but we’ve been hearing alot of anti-semitic comments that basically boil down to “Well, you’re not actively being genocided right now, so that must mean that there isn’t any anti-semitism anymore!” and other such comments. It puts me and others… on edge.


The article seems to be assuming that admissions tests are unbiased, which I don’t actually think is the case. SAT scores correlate much more strongly to family wealth (and access to training courses/tutoring) than they do to student success in college.


These elite schools never had quotas, either. If they wanted explicit quotas, they would have used explicit quotas instead of resorting to interviews, essays, and the like. The entire point of holistic admissions processes is that they are not quotas, even if the have the same effect. Are there currently quotas for Asians or African Americans in the Ivy League? No (and quotas would be unconstitutional at public universities). Do holisitc admissions seem to be artificially contraining admissions for these minority groups in ways that quotas would? yes.

I mean, why does a school like Chicago, which takes a famously economic and data-oriented approach to things, rely on subjective essays in admissions instead of arguably more objective (or at any rate more quantifiable) test scores, economic data, and the like? Why did Chicago move away from a test-centric model to a holistic model? Why does Chicago’s demographics look like an Ivy League schools, and not like Cal-Tech or even Cal?

Yale: 18.4% Asian, 7.5% Black
Northwestern: 19.7% Asian, 5.7% Black
UChicago: 20.1% Asian, 5.0% Black
Stanford: 20.8% Asian, 6.9% Black
Harvard: 20.9% Asian, 7.4% Black
Princetion: 22.5% Asian, 8.6% Black
USC: 26.2% Asian, 5.0% Black
MIT: 26.6% Asian, 5.9% Black
UCal Berkeley: 39% Asian, 3% Black
Cal-Tech: 46.6% Asian, 1.9% Black

Of these schools, we know Cal-Tech doesn’t take race into account, and we know California public Universities are also forbidden to take race into account (although they do attempt to minimize the impact by taking socio-economic status, family educational attainments, etc. into account). Notice that these two schools have much higher percentages of Asians, and much lower percentages of blacks. In contrast, Chicago (and Northwestern) admits Ivy League levels of Asians, but fewer blacks. It’s possible that geographic considerations explain the higher representation of Asians in California schools (but would fail to explain MIT’s higher proportion of Asians, or Stanford and USC’s much lower percentages of Asians). I suspect that Chicago consciously shapes its class demographics just as much as the Ivies.


They correlate strongly with both, and even blacks with relatively high family incomes tend to do worse than the poorest whites.


FFS Anti-Israel != Anti-Jewish


Read the full sentence

As far as I can understand the protests are not an issue, it’s the criticism for not turning up.

1 Like

The existence of Jewish quotas in the Ivy League is hardly news. It was common knowledge at the time, and when I was in school in the 1980s people talked about the bad old days all the time. The quota also wasn’t motivated so much by racial anti-Semitism, as simply by the desire of the WASP elite to make sure their own kids had places in what WASPs viewed as “their club”. If Italian or Irish Americans had been as successful academically as Jewish Americans, they would have no doubt been subject to quotas as well. The irony, of course, is now that the Ivy League schools are wide open to Jewish Americans, and many institutions, like Yale and Harvard, have or have had Jewish Presidents, the “legacy of bigotry” has worked out pretty well, enabling the new elite to turn around and slap a quota on the next hard working group of immigrant children - East Asians.

You could also ask whether a private institution has any real obligation to be meritocratic, or even whether pretending to be meritocratic is actually counterproductive. Rather than “opening up” the Ivy League it might be better to simply de-emphasize the importance of an Ivy League degree in the outside world. When smart Jews (and women) were being systematically excluded from the Ivies, the outside world noticed. As a result Ivy League degrees were often viewed as more “finishing school” degrees in the 1930s-50s, and actually carried much less weight academically than they do today when there seems to be the erroneous assumption that Harvard, Yale and Princeton get the brightest of the bright.