Stanford’s enrollment rate for white students in the Class of 2026 was 22%, a drop from 40% for the Class of 2016 just ten years ago. While Stanford claims that “the University does not use quotas of any kind in its admission process,” a further exploration of Stanford’s enrollment statistics by the Review reveals that the university has seemingly taken part in racial engineering over the past several years—practically exchanging white applicants for Asian applicants while holding other racial group enrollment rates constant.
Over an eleven-year period, the data demonstrates that Stanford has decreased enrollment of its white students by approximately 15% and increased the enrollment of its Asian students by about 10%. All other racial groups, however, have remained roughly the same.
In 1978, the Supreme Court ruled in Regents of the University of California vs. Bakke that racial quotas were unconstitutional. Stanford claims to comply with Bakke, but the data points to a different story. Black and Hispanic enrollment rates for the Class of 2026 vary only by 0.76% and 0.44% from their enrollment rates for the Class of 2015, respectively. Whites and Asians in the Class of 2026, however, vary by 12.35% and 8.37% from their enrollment rates over a decade ago in the Class of 2015.
The data shows that the decrease in white enrollment, and an increase in Asian enrollment began shifting most rapidly around the Class of 2019. Why?
In 2014, charges were filed against Harvard University and The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alleging that the schools discriminated against Asian applicants. Data amongst the Ivy League schools shows that they all had strikingly similar Asian enrollment levels that remained constant despite a large increase in the Asian population and as other schools like Caltech were enrolling more Asian students. It was around this exact same time, with the Stanford Class of 2019, that white enrollment began to steadily decrease as Asian enrollment began to steadily increase.
The increase in Asian enrollment rates could signify an increase in the strength of applications among Asian students; it could also signify that Stanford realized the strength of the discrimination lawsuits brought against Harvard and UNC and decided to rectify their own discrimination against Asian students. Either way, however, with an increase in Asian enrollment rates, we would expect to see a respective decrease in all other racial and ethnic groups in order to compensate for this adjustment. But this is not what the data points to—rather, the data demonstrates that in order to increase Asian enrollment rates, Stanford did so almost entirely in exchange for white enrollment rates.
Without pre-established racial quotas for the other groups, it seems nearly impossible that Stanford could increase only Asian enrollment rates and decrease only white enrollment rates while holding all other racial and ethnic groups constant (nonresidents are referred to as “international” students and not a specific race or ethnicity). What conditions must hold for these patterns to not be explained by racial engineering, that is, by an explicit change in Stanford’s desired class composition?
In order for this data to not represent racial engineering: white applications must have become significantly weaker at a seemingly constant rate or Stanford decided to devalue certain application factors like legacy admissions, which are predominantly white, all while the applications for other racial groups grew just strong enough to remain at nearly the same rate for the past decade. While it is entirely possible that the strength of white applicants has decreased in the past few years while the strength of other racial group applicants have increased, the data shows an unnatural, mechanical pattern in these enrollment rates that points to a different story.
The evidence seems to indicate systematic racial engineering by Stanford—which arbitrarily favors some groups over others—until public pressure or fear of legal consequences builds. Within the past decade, there is clear data that Stanford University has significantly decreased white enrollment rates, significantly increased Asian enrollment rates, and held nearly all other racial and ethnic groups constant. As many of Stanford’s peer institutions are engrossed in legal battles over affirmative action discrimination lawsuits, it is essential that Stanford justify that they have also not participated in recent Asian discrimination. They must also prove they are not currently utilizing racial quotas or discriminating against white applicants.
In November 2022, Stanford sent an email to the entire student body for “Care and concern for our Jewish student community.” In the email, they acknowledged the new report that found “evidence of actions taken to suppress the number of Jewish students admitted to Stanford.” The report states that “Stanford could deny claims of quotas because, technically, the university did not have them,” but that there is “clear evidence of anti-Jewish bias in admissions at the highest levels of the university in the early 1950s.” The 75-page report recommended changes to rectify their past discrimination, though there were “technically” no quotas. The end of the student email read, “We are committed to eliminating hatred directed at anyone because of who they are, and we continue to seek ways to ensure every student knows we stand by you and you belong here.” Has Stanford really had a change of heart?
If a further investigation into Stanford’s admission processes reveals the use of racial quotas or Asian or white discrimination, Stanford’s commitment to equity and its previous efforts to address discrimination, like its discrimination against Jewish students in the 1950s, may be one of the great hypocrisies and virtue signals of our generation.