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Interesting point is why should they just throw their cash away to help strangers while their own kids get left out?
Look, obviously this is different since these are mostly private schools we're talking about, not arms of the state. As I said before, they should be free to admit whomever they want. But if their policies have the effect of reinforcing a self-perpetuating elite based on bloodlines, then I would seriously question whether as a matter of public policy it makes sense to continue to give them public subsidies like tax-deductible status, exemptions from local property taxes, and various forms of federal payments
It seems to me that Harvard isn't taking legacy kids who would otherwise have to go to Podunk U.
It might be that if Harvard gave no legacy preference, there might be a few kids who would have to go to Penn or even (shudder) Cornell instead of Harvard. Indeed, if you look at the results threads here on CC, and look at rejected legacies, they typically are accepted by other, very selective schools.
So the injustice, if it is one, is really pretty minimal.
In pulling Bob Jones' tax exemption the government never took the position that BJU had to be open enrollment; only that it couldn't get a tax exemption if it discriminated on the basis of race, because that's against public policy