Affirmative Action on the Hot Seat – Again!

A New York Times article (10/20/2018) shines light on a current lawsuit (“Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College”), brought by Asian-American students denied admission by the college. Rejected Asian-American students allege that Harvard imposes a quota on Asian-American admissions, and holds these students to a higher admissions standard. Asian-Americans are consistently rated lower on “positive personality traits” which negatively affects their chances of admission.

Harvard itself conducted its own survey on this topic in 2013 entitled “Does Admissions Process Disadvantage Asians?” Their conclusion? Yes, the process did put Asians at a disadvantage.

According to the suit, Harvard is violating the federal civil rights law of 1964 that prohibits discrimination by universities that receive federal funds. Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated: “As a recipient of taxpayer dollars, Harvard has a responsibility to conduct its admission policy without racial discrimination by using meaningful admissions criteria that meet lawful requirements.”

According to the College, “Harvard does not discriminate against applicants from any group, and will continue to vigorously defend the legal right of every college and university to consider race as one factor among many in college admissions….”

Harvard also defends its practices by arguing that eliminating consideration of race would put African-Americans and Hispanics at a disadvantage.

by Kate Lynch

Make Room on that Courtroom Bench!

An October 16 article in the Washington Post describes a new legal service app that makes it possible to sue with a smartphone and claim awards from class action lawsuits.

It’s called “Do Not Pay” and was developed by Joshua Browder, a 21 year old senior at Stanford. Browder describes it this way: “Lawyers say this app isn’t necessary but if your issue is below $10,000, no lawyer is going to help, and if they do they’re going to take 50% of what you make.”

So far, it’s been downloaded about 10,000 times and used, for example, to recoup about $11,000 from the Equifax data breach. The app allows a user to sue for an amount up to $25,000.

by Kate Lynch

Better Check Those School Supplies for Toxic Ingredients

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund recently tested 27 common kids’ products and found asbestos in a crayon and benzene in a marker. The article appeared in an August 8 article in the New York Times.

One of the crayons tested – a green Playskool crayon – showed trace amounts of tremolite, which is a form of asbestos. All other crayons tested – Crayola, Up & Up, Cra-Z-Art, Disney Junior Mickey and the Roadster Racers, and RoseArt – tested negative for asbestos.

Benzene, a known carcinogen, was found in six magnetic markers produced by The Board Dudes, which is owned by Mattel. Washable markers from Crayola and Jot nested negative.
The organization also examined three 3-ring binders for phthalates, chemicals that may affect human reproduction and development. Only one, a Jot-brand, 1-inch binder, tested positive.

When contacted, the relevant companies agreed to review claims but maintained that their products currently comply with all safety standards.

by Kate Lynch