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For 5 Harvard Freshmen, A Personal Examination of How They Got In

来源:纽约时报    2018-11-02 05:40

        CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Two freshman friends sat across from each other in a common room, comparing notes on how exactly they got into Harvard. In some ways, their situations were opposites: One was a “double legacy,” with two parents who had themselves received Harvard degrees. The other was the son of a police officer and was on full financial aid.        马萨诸塞州坎布里奇——两个交上了朋友的新生面对面地坐在公共休息室里,交流着他们是如何进入哈佛就读的经验。从某些方面来看,他们的情况截然相反:一人是“双校友子女”,父母都获得过哈佛学位。另一方是警察的儿子,完全靠助学金。
        The legacy student, Iman Lavery, remembered feeling self-conscious during a conversation when she first arrived at school: A classmate had contrasted people who were “super qualified to be here” with legacies. For her friend on financial aid, Joseph Felkers, it had been the frequent questions from new acquaintances of “What’s your thing?” — why did you get in? — that set him on edge, making him wonder if his “thing” was his passion for poetry, or simply that he was poor.        身为校友子女的伊曼·莱弗里(Iman Lavery)记得她刚来学校时,有一次跟人谈话时感到难为情的事情:一位同学把那些“超级有资格来这里”的人和校友子女拿来做了一番对比。对她靠助学金来哈佛的朋友约瑟夫·费尔克斯(Joseph Felkers)来说,新认识的人总是会问自己“你的优势是什么?”——你怎么进来的?——这会让他感到坐立不安,开始问自己他的“优势”是对诗歌的热爱,还是只是因为他是穷人。
        For many freshmen at Harvard, who have started school as a lawsuit challenging the university’s use of affirmative action in admissions plays out in court, the case has been personal. It has sharpened the usual freshman-year doubts about how they ended up among the less than five percent of applicants chosen from a pool of 42,749. And it has forced uncomfortable questions about what circumstances beyond their control — like race, wealth, or legacy status — got them or their classmates here.        哈佛开学的同时,一起挑战该校在招生过程中使用平权措施的诉讼案正在法庭里展开,对许多新生来说,这起案子从头到尾都与他们直接相关。通常新生第一年都会对自己产生怀疑:我是怎么作为前5%,被学校从42749人当中选出来的。这起案子使这样的怀疑变得更明确了。该案也让人们开始对那些不在他们控制范围内,使他们或同学得以来到这里就读的条件产生令人不舒服的质疑,例如种族、财富,或是校友子女身份。
        Both Ms. Lavery and Mr. Felkers said that the case wasn’t talked about much among freshmen, though they said they had discussed it here and there, at dinner or between classes. Mr. Felkers described it as “kind of an elephant in the room.”        莱弗里和费尔克斯都表示,新生们对这起案子的谈论不多,尽管他们说自己在吃饭或课间,不时会和人讨论这件事。费尔克斯说这件事“被人刻意回避了”。
        But late on a recent weeknight, the two sat down with Ms. Lavery’s three roommates — Nadine Lee, Lauren Marshall, and Charlotte Ruhl — to talk about the case and how it had made them reflect on their admission to Harvard and their experience of Harvard so far.        但近期一个工作日的深夜,两人和莱弗里的三名室友—— 娜丁·李(Nadine Lee)、劳伦·马歇尔(Lauren Marshall)和夏洛特·鲁尔(Charlotte Ruhl)——坐了下来,探讨这个案子、它是如何让他们开始反思自己被哈佛录取过程的,以及他们迄今为止在哈佛的感受。
        The room was decorated with botanical prints and a poster of a landscape by the Japanese artist Hiroshige. Mr. Felkers, who wore wire-rimmed glasses and his hair in an undercut, perched on a white couch next to Ms. Marshall and Ms. Ruhl, who tucked their bare feet under them. Ms. Lavery and Ms. Lee, both in leggings and sneakers, sat across from them on a chair and a storage bench. As they talked, the students, all 18 years old, passed around a package of “Double Stuf” Oreos that Ms. Ruhl’s mother had sent.        公共休息室里装饰着植物版画,还挂着日本艺术家歌川广重的风景作品。费尔克斯带着金属边眼镜,头发剪得很短,靠坐在沙发扶手上,旁边是盘腿坐着的马歇尔和鲁尔。莱弗里和李都穿着紧身裤和球鞋,坐在他们对面的一张椅子和储物长凳上。相互交流时,这些年龄都在18岁的学生互相传着鲁尔妈妈寄来的一包奥利奥双面夹心饼干。
        The plaintiffs in the case have accused Harvard of discriminating against Asian-Americans by holding them to a higher standard than any other racial group. Defending itself, Harvard has been forced to reveal aspects of its admissions process that it kept closely held in the past, and some elements, like special treatment given to students whose relatives made major gifts to the university, have been jarring.        该案原告指控哈佛以比其他种族更高的标准评判亚裔美国人,因此对他们构成了歧视。为自己做出辩护的哈佛被迫公开了招生程序的几个方面,过去这些都是严格保密的信息。此外,被公开的还有其他一些令人不快的因素,像是给予那些亲戚对该校慷慨解囊的学生的特殊对待。
        Two of Ms. Lavery’s roommates — Ms. Lee, who is Korean-American, and Ms. Marshall, who has a Chinese mother and a British father — said they thought that Harvard’s admissions process was biased against Asian-Americans.        莱弗里的两个室友——韩裔美国人李和妈妈是华人、父亲是英国人的马歇尔——表示,他们认为哈佛的入学程序对亚裔美国人有偏见。
        Ms. Lee, who grew up in Englewood, N.J. Seoul and Marin County, Calif., said she had long assumed that she would face discrimination in applying to college, partly because she had watched Asian friends with excellent grades and scores be rejected by their desired schools. She said that she had thought a lot about how to stand out from other Asian-American applicants. Ultimately, she applied to join the United States Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. In her applications she emphasized her enthusiasm for the military and her ambition to be a trauma surgeon.        在新泽西州恩格尔伍德、首尔和加利福尼亚州马林县长大的李表示,她一直认为自己在申请大学时会遭到歧视,部分原因是因为她看到一些成绩优异的亚裔朋友被他们理想中的学校拒绝。她说,她考虑过如何从其他亚裔申请人中脱颖而出。最终,她申请加入美国空军预备役军官训练团(United States Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps)。在申请中,她强调自己对军队的热情以及成为创伤外科医生的雄心。
        “I knew that I didn’t — whatever this means — I didn’t want to be the typical Asian,” she said.        “我知道我不想——无论这意味着什么——我不想做典型的亚洲人,”她说。
        Ms. Marshall, who wore dark eyeliner and had a swirl of bleached hair, is an accomplished composer from just north of London. She said she had not felt as though she was competing against other students of Asian backgrounds to get into Harvard because her strengths were creative rather than strictly academic.        来自北伦敦的马歇尔是一位有成就的作曲家,她画着深色眼线,一缕头发漂成了白色。她说,她并没有感觉到,为了进入哈佛,她与其他具有亚洲背景的学生进行竞争,因为她的优势是创造力而非严格的学术性。
        She said that what she had read about the lawsuit, particularly the fact that Asian-American applicants were rated lower on personality traits than applicants of other backgrounds, convinced her that some admissions officers probably were prejudiced against Asian-Americans.        她说,自己从这起诉讼中了解到的,特别是亚裔申请人的性格评分低于其他背景申请人这一事实,使她确信一些招生人员可能对亚裔美国人有偏见。
        “That’s just racist,” she said of the personal ratings. (Harvard’s dean of admissions and financial aid, William R. Fitzsimmons, suggested in testimony in court that high school teachers and guidance counselors were partly to blame, saying that recommendations for white students were stronger than those for Asian-American students.)        “这就是种族主义,”她说起这个个人评级系统。(哈佛大学的招生和经济援助主任威廉·R·菲茨西蒙斯[William R. Fitzsimmons]在法庭作证时表示,高中教师和辅导员也应承担部分责任,并说白人学生的推荐信要比亚裔学生更有力。)
        Still, while she wanted Harvard to address that, she said she also opposed the plaintiffs’ effort to end affirmative action in the school’s admissions.        虽然她希望哈佛能够解决这个问题,但她表示,她也反对原告终止该校招生平权行动的努力。
        While the lawsuit directly accuses Harvard of discriminating against Asian-Americans, it also has shed light on an array of advantages that some applicants receive; legacies, for instance, who are admitted at five times the rate of non-legacy students, recruited athletes, and those whose relatives have made major donations.        虽然该诉讼直接指控的是哈佛歧视亚裔美国人,但它也揭示了一些申请人获得的一系列优势;例如,校友子女的入学率是非校友子女学生、体育特长生以及亲属进行巨额捐赠者入学率的五倍。
        From reading online forums where students compared their application profiles and discussed one another’s chance of getting in to different schools, Mr. Felkers had gleaned that his potential “hooks,” or advantages, were that he was from the Midwest, and that his parents were low-income.        通过在线论坛,学生们比较了他们的申请资料,并讨论彼此进入不同学校的机会,费尔克斯总结到,他潜在的“卖点”或优势是:他来自中西部,父母是低收入人群。
        Mr. Felkers, who is from outside Grand Rapids, Mich., said he was grateful for any boost to his chances, but that he also felt ashamed. After he was admitted to Harvard, he said he heard that an acquaintance from a rival high school, who had been rejected from some elite colleges, had told a mutual friend, “‘Oh, Joseph got in because he’s on free and reduced lunch.’”        来自密歇根州大急流城外的费尔克斯说,他对自己得到的机会和便宜都感激不尽,但他也感到惭愧。他说,自己被哈佛大学录取后,听说来自竞争对手高中的一位熟人被一些精英大学拒绝后告诉两人共同的朋友,“哦,约瑟夫被录取是因为他正在享用免费和减价午餐。”  
        “It’s like a punch to the stomach,” Mr. Felkers said. “Of course it’s going to make you feel insecure.”        “这就像对我的肚子打了一拳,”费尔克斯说。“当然,这会让你失去信心。”
        At Harvard, he said, his family’s poverty was often on his mind, especially when topics came up like what people’s parents did for a living or where they went to college. He said he frequently found himself internally debating how much to reveal.        他说,在哈佛,他经常想起自己贫困的家庭,特别是当大家谈到父母的职业或在什么地方上大学这些话题的时候。他说,自己经常在心里挣扎,到底要透露多少东西。
        “In a situation like this, we’re all just sitting around eating Oreos — I’m comfortable talking about my aid status,” he said.        “在这样的情况下,我们就是坐在这儿吃饼干——我就可以很自在地谈论我的援助状况,”他说。
        “But if I’m, you know, on a Friday night, trying to get into a party thrown by, like, the heavyweight rowers, I’m not going to say, ‘Oh, by the way, I’m on full aid.’”        “但是,你知道,如果是周五的一个晚上,我想参加一个由重量级划艇选手举办的派对,我就不会说,‘哦,顺便说一句,我正在接受全援助。’”
        For Ms. Lavery, who is from Seattle, the discomfort has lingered since the conversation — during an August pre-orientation program — in which a classmate had casually suggested that most legacies were not qualified to be at Harvard. After that, she said she spent a lot of time thinking about whether to reveal that she was a legacy to friends that she was making in the program, some of whom came from low-income backgrounds.        西雅图的莱弗里在8月份参加了预定培训课程,一位同学在聊天时随口说起,大多数校友子女都不具备上哈佛的资格,从那以后,不舒服的感觉就在她心里萦绕不去。她说,在那之后,她花了很长时间思考,是否要向在那个课程里认识的朋友们(其中一些人来自低收入家庭)透露,她就是校友子女。
        “I was conscious of, ‘How am I going to tell that to them? Is it going to be a big deal when I tell them that? Is it going to change the way they think of me?’”        “我在想,‘我要怎么告诉他们?如果告诉他们,会掀起轩然大波吗?会改变他们对我的看法吗?'”
        “At the same time I almost feel guilty saying that,” she quickly added, “because being a legacy affords me a privilege.”        “与此同时,我几乎感到内疚,”她很快补充说,“因为身为校友子女为我提供了特权。”
        Ms. Lavery’s maternal grandmother immigrated from Mexico and her maternal grandfather from India, so, she checked three boxes on her application, indicating that she was Hispanic, white and Asian. She said she knew that her racial and ethnic background could have played a role in her admission, as well.        莱弗里的外祖母是墨西哥移民,外祖父来自印度,因此,她在申请时勾选了三栏,表明她是西班牙裔、白人和亚裔。她说,她知道自己的种族和民族背景也可以在入学过程中发挥作用。
        “A lot of my thinking after I got in,” she said, “was like, ‘O.K., well, I know that these were factors, but I know that I’m qualified to go to this school,’ and so it’s kind of a balancing act.”        “我入学之后想了很多,”她说,“像是‘好吧,我知道这些都是有利因素,但我知道我有资格进这所学校’,所以这是一种平衡的想法。”
        Ms. Ruhl, who is white and graduated from Stuyvesant High School in New York City — where efforts to diversify the student body have left some Asian-Americans fearing that they will be excluded — was the one student in the room who said she had no idea what about her had won her admission.        鲁尔是白人,毕业于纽约市史岱文森高中(Stuyvesant High School) ——该校令学生群体多样化的努力让一些亚裔美国人担心自己会被排除在外——在参与这次谈话的学生中,她是唯一一个不清楚自己到底是为什么获得入学资格的人。
        Earlier in the week, she put in a request to see her own admissions file. Harvard has officially permitted students to see their admissions files since 2015, after a group of Stanford students successfully used a federal education law to gain access to their records. A Harvard spokeswoman said that the university had received roughly 200 such requests per month this fall.        本周早些时候,她提出要求查看自己的录取文件。自从斯坦福大学的一群学生成功利用联邦教育法获取入学记录后,哈佛大学自2015年以来,已经正式允许学生查看自己的入学档案。一位哈佛大学发言人表示,该校今年秋季每月收到大约200个此类请求。
        In a moment when many people here are examining what has won some people admission over others, the chance to see one’s own file — complete with notes from admissions officers — can be tantalizing, though some students have said that they found the records cryptic.        现在,很多人正在研究到底是什么让一些人击败其他人获得入学资格,在这样一个时候,有机会看到自己的档案——再加上招生官员的批注——可能显得很诱人,尽管有些学生说他们发现这些记录是含糊不清的。
        Ms. Ruhl said she was simply curious. “This whole admissions process is such a mystery,” she said.        鲁尔说她只是好奇。“整个录取过程都是如此神秘,”她说。

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