But Warikoo seems concerned with students’ responses. Analyzing data from these interviews years later, Warikoo points out that students’ approaches to diversity suggest that they’ve “internalized” the tokenistic rhetoric of the school admissions office, even if they had disagreed with policies like athletic recruitment or legacy admissions before coming to campus.
“Unlike in other campus domains in which there is a history of social protest among college students, in the realm of admissions, students seem to agree quite strongly with their universities, and come to even more agreement rather than critique upon arriving to campus,” she writes. “They suggest that most actors in elite institutions espouse views that reproduce their elite status, rather than engaging in symbolic politics or protest.”
According to Warikoo, “US students espouse a collective understanding of merit,” but only “value collective merit for its impact on themselves, not for social justice, or for the collective good of society.”
“They are not espousing, for example, a vision of multiculturalism that emphasizes group identities and the need to support ethnic and racial groups in society, as many scholars define multicultural state policies,” she elaborates.