Butler wanted to reduce the number of New Yorkers who attended Columbia College, because New York City students were disproportionately from immigrant families and Jewish. In order to attract larger numbers of young Episcopalian gentlemen, the future leaders of the country, Butler made an effort to nationalize the College, that is, to draw students from outside New York City. Whereas before 1910 the prevailing view in higher education had been that qualified students should not be turned away, Butler helped to develop the notion of "selective admission," whereby a college conveyed its distinction and prestige by turning away qualified students. Application forms were modified in 1919 to inquire about family history; the forms asked not only for the candidate's place of birth, but his religion, his father's place of birth and his father's occupation. The application also required a photograph of the applicant and an interview.
This change in admissions policies produced the desired effect. From 1920 to 1930, that is the first decade of the new admissions policy, the percentage of Columbia students coming from New York City dropped from 54 percent to 23 percent, and what one administrator called "the invasion of the Jewish student" was contained. Dean of the College Herbert E. Hawkes informed Yale's director of admissions in 1930 that "the proportion of Jews in Columbia has been reduced from about 40 percent to 20 percent." But the issue of selectivity, of who should be admitted to Columbia, persisted. In 1933 President Butler instructed Dean Hawkes: "I don't know whether it is at all practicable, but it would be highly judicious if...some way could be found to see to it that individuals of the undesirable type did not get in Columbia College, no matter what their record in the very important matter of As and Bs."
Батлер, который все это ловко и хитроумно придумал - это не просто какой-то там Батлер. Это цельный American philosopher, diplomat, and educator, который был и president of Columbia University, и president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, и recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, и William Howard Taft's running mate in the 1912 United States presidential election, и был столь славен и почитаем, что The New York Times printed his Christmas greeting to the nation every year - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Murray_Butler
Это к тому, что любая глупость обычно имеет глубокие корни и давнюю историю, а вовсе не выдумана новейшими дураками. Что в некотором роде служит основанием для пессимизма.
Но также и к тому, что американское общество накопило немалый опыт переваривания и более или менее успешной нейтрализации самых нелепых глупостей. Что в некотором роде служит основанием для оптимизма.