Like a number of other Ivy League and other colleges, Princeton University has been sued by organizations charging that Princeton has been discriminating against Asians. Even Princeton’s own professors have pointed out discrepancies in test scores between white and Asian applicants in the past. While Princeton was cleared in the case, Students for Fair Admissions has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Princeton materials in the case. Princeton has filed suit to block the request, citing trade secret law.
As a Princeton alum, I was kind of disappointed to hear about this action. With a number of admissions lawsuits going around, it would seem that since they were cleared and if they didn’t discriminate, what are they hiding? A trade secret? Wouldn’t more transparency into the process be better? Differences in test scores could be explained by lots of Asians concentrating on in large numbers into highly competitive areas like engineering. Could they be hiding blatant bias like this former Ivy admissions officer mentions? Lack of transparency means we will never know.
I can’t say I am a fan of Edward Blum sponsored admission law suits like Fisher vs the University of Texas. In that case, having a plaintiff who actually had excellent grades would have made a stronger point. Still, it does bother me that they are using trade secret law to block the request. A privacy argument for applicants won’t work since personal information has been redacted and more than half of the documents have already been released. The University’s actions seems to say that they are hiding negative things, whether or not they truly are.