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New Bill Seeks Transparency in Use of Personality Traits in Admissions


Republican Representative Michelle Steel of California’s 48th district introduced legislation Wednesday obligating colleges and universities to be transparent about their use of personality traits in admissions decisions. 

The primary purpose of the Helping Applicants Receive Valid and Reasonable Decisions or HARVARD Act is to hold higher education institutions accountable for including personality traits as a determining factor for college admissions. 

If approved, colleges would have to publicly acknowledge their use of personality traits which includes posting it on websites and other application resources. Schools must also release a rationale behind the decision, a description of the process, and the standard upon which choices are based. 

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

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

Discriminatory Policies

The proposed bill follows the Supreme Court decision to hear two race-related cases against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Both plaintiffs argue that these institutions behaved unfairly in their use of race as an admissions factor, with Harvard allegedly penalizing Asian-American applicants because of their perceived lower “personal rating.”

This includes subjective qualities such as “positive personality,” “likability” and being a “good person” with “human qualities.”

But the Ivy League school denies the claims. 

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