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Support Grows for Asian-American Students in Discrimination Lawsuit Against Harvard

Support Grows for Asian-American Students in Discrimination Lawsuit Against Harvard

“We strongly believe Harvard’s admissions policy, which is hyper-focused on race, is only a Band-Aid”

Harvard seems to be losing this case, at least in optics. A growing portion of the public, particularly Asian-Americans, believe the students have a legitimate complaint.

WGBH reports:

Asian-American Group Expands Support For Lawsuit Against Harvard

Asian-American organizations across the country supporting a federal lawsuit against Harvard University’s admissions practices have grown in number and expanded into other Asian subgroups beyond Chinese, according to a court brief filed in Boston Tuesday.

Last year, 158 groups — dominated by Chinese-American ones — supported a similar brief filed in the pending case accusing Harvard of discriminating against Asian-American applicants. The latest brief has the backing of 270 organizations, including 30 Korean-American groups joining in for the first time.

Large Indian-American organizations, such as National Federation of Indian American Associations, Global Organization of People of India Origin and American Hindu Coalition, also cosigned the brief. Of the 270 total, 230 are nonprofit associations and educational institutions.

In this latest brief, the Asian-American Coalition for Education once again accuses Harvard of using racial quotas and stereotyping.

Wenyuan Wu, the coalition’s director of administration, said Harvard’s race-conscious admissions model has been ineffective when it comes to enrolling more low-income students.

“We strongly believe Harvard’s admissions policy, which is hyper-focused on race, is only a Band-Aid that conceals the root cause behind a lack of diversity on college campuses,” he said.

Wu said statistical evidence presented at a three-week trial in October before U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs shows that Harvard discriminates against Asian-Americans in rural areas.

“Harvard sends invitation letters to white students with PSAT scores of around 1310, but not to Asian males with scores of 1370 and higher,” she said.


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When I was at Harvard in the 1970’s, it was common knowledge that the number of Jewish students was capped at 40%. But there were lots of other factors involved as well. A kid from Montana or Nevada had a much better chance than a kid from New York. Black kids got the most preference, followed by Hispanic kids, followed by WASP kids, followed by Jewish kids. If you were kin to the Kennedys or other prominent politicians, you were in. Currently, I wonder whether an Obama or Clinton would even have to fill out an application to get in.

Olympians and other nationally-known athletes were likely to get in, and kids whose parents had given boatloads of money were in. Kids whose family members had gone there got preference as “legacies.”

I suspect that once Asians became over-represented at the top of the applicant pool, they became subject to the same kinds of unwritten limits that Jews faced for many years. So I’m glad to see Asians pressuring Harvard to stop using race as one of their admissions criteria. But I doubt they will ever base their admissions entirely on academic merit. The other preferences are too firmly entrenched.

I appreciate the informed updates. Any fresh information?

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