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Rep. Michelle Steel introduces bill to hold colleges accountable for use of ‘personality traits’ in admissions

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FIRST ON FOX: California GOP Rep. Michelle Steel introduces legislation to bring greater transparency to higher education by requiring colleges and universities to be transparent about the use of “personality traits” in career decisions. admission.

The new bill comes as the Supreme Court agreed in the fall to hear two cases against US colleges, Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), for allegedly “penalized Asian American applicants” and used “race as a factor”. in admissions. »

An amicus brief filed by the Trump administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2018 alleges that Harvard ranks Asian Americans lower on the “personal rating” component, which includes subjective qualities such as ” positive personality”, “sympathy” and being a “good person” with “human qualities”.


The “HARVARD Act” introduced by Steel on Wednesday would hold higher education institutions accountable for using these personality traits as a key factor in admissions.

“Every student should have the opportunity to succeed and build their own American dream on their own merit. The use of discriminatory personality traits or racial preferences in admissions practices is simply wrong,” Steel told Fox. NewsDigital.

“I have worked for decades to bring fairness to our education system, and this is another important step in ensuring a level playing field for ALL students,” Steel continued.

Then-Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel attends a press conference in Santa Ana, California on November 5, 2020.

Then-Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel attends a press conference in Santa Ana, California on November 5, 2020.
(Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

The bill would require colleges to publicly acknowledge their use of personality traits in admissions, making them readily available on their application materials and websites. It would also require an explanation as to why they use these traits and the criteria and standards used in assessments of prospective students.

Steel’s office says they are still gathering co-sponsors on the legislation. The congresswoman worked in the state previously to ban racial preferences in education as well as hiring, Prop 209, which was modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Biden administration’s DOJ had urged the Supreme Court not to take up the case, with Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar citing previous rulings and lower courts that backed Harvard and allowed a candidate’s race university is used as an admission factor. Additionally, the Biden DOJ also dropped a similar case against Yale University’s admissions practices right after Biden took office.

Supreme Court Building on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Supreme Court Building on Capitol Hill in Washington.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

“Harvard uses race at every step of the admissions process,” Students for Fair Admissions, which took the case to the Supreme Court, said in its filing. “African American and Hispanic students with PSAT scores of 1100 and above are welcome to apply to Harvard, but white and Asian American students must score 1350. … In some parts of the country, Asian American applicants must score higher than all other racial groups, including whites, to be recruited by Harvard.”


Harvard and UNC argue that their use of race in admissions is appropriate and does not discriminate against Asian Americans.

The High Court will most likely render a decision in 2023 in Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College.

Fox News’ Caitlin McFall contributed to this report.


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