In this article, Richard Farnum critiques and offers a supplement to Jerome Karabel's 1984 article, "Status-Group Struggle, Organizational Interests, and the Limits of Institutional Autonomy: The Transformation of Harvard, Yale, and Princeton, 1918–1940," an analytic model of educational change and the rise of discriminatory admissions in elite colleges and universities based on conflict theory. Farnum argues that a more complex and more complete understanding of discrimination in admissions, specifically the WASP exclusion of Jews and other minorities, can be achieved by broadening Karabel's concept of "interests" to include differences in educational philosophy, ideology, and institutional character of the elite colleges. He also argues that the model could be improved by analysis and inclusion of the shifting historical and functional context within which the interests of the elite and the colleges operated. Recognition of such changing social contexts, as well as institutional ideals and ideologies crucial to elite college perceptions of their organizational interests, suggests a process of change in which, over time, elite colleges experienced an increase in autonomy and became less dependent on the interests of their traditional constituency.

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