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