Professor Lani Guinier

In a recent Q&A in the New York Times, Harvard Law School Professor Lani Guinier discusses her new book, “The Tyranny of Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America.” Making the case that college admissions has become a “testocracy” in which standardized test scores are seen as the most important measure of merit, and character counts for little, Guinier argues for a rethinking of merit that would better reflect the values of a democratic society.

Lani Guinier, the first tenured woman of color at Harvard Law School, went through a trial by fire in 1993, when President Bill Clinton withdrew her nomination for assistant attorney general for civil rights.

Negative publicity about her political and academic views had made her a polarizing figure. Conservatives called her “the quota queen,” though her essays, published in “The Tyranny of the Majority: Fundamental Fairness in Representative Democracy,” make it clear she opposed quotas and was seeking voting systems that would promote representation not just of the majority but also of a greater range of groups.

Her new book, “The Tyranny of Meritocracy: Democratizing Higher Education in America,” returns to the theme of inclusion … Read the full article at

See related coverage from Inside Higher EdStreetRoots News and NPR.