Image 01 Image 03

Trump administration sides with Asian American students in discrimination suit against Harvard

Trump administration sides with Asian American students in discrimination suit against Harvard

Harvard’s use of “a nebulous and entirely subjective ‘personal rating'” for applicants “has repeatedly penalized one particular racial group: Asian Americans”

Harvard University discriminates against students of Asian ethnicity in admissions. That much is beyond doubt.

Harvard is far from alone. Study after study have shown that Asian students need to outperform other students, particularly other non-white minorities, on standardized tests and grades in order to obtain admission.

This is achieved through the use of “soft” factors in admissions decisions similar to those used to cap Jewish enrollment starting in the 1920s. Harvard pioneered the way in limiting Jewish enrollment much as it has pioneered the way in capping Asian enrollment.

The use of these soft factors has been boosted by U.S. Supreme Court decisions upholding discrimination in the service of diversity. The argument is that diversity adds to the educational experience, so some discrimination to achieve that supposed educational end is permitted, as long as it’s not too blatant.

A university is in large part defined by those intangible “qualities which are incapable of objective measurement but which make for greatness.” Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U. S. 629, 634 (1950). Considerable deference is owed to a university in defining those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to its identity and educational mission. But still, it remains an enduring challenge to our Nation’s education system to reconcile the pursuit of diversity with the constitutional promise of equal treatment and dignity.

In striking this sensitive balance, public universities, like the States themselves, can serve as “laboratories for experimentation.”… The University of Texas at Austin has a special opportunity to learn and to teach. The University now has at its disposal valuable data about the manner in which different approaches to admissions may foster diversity or instead dilute it. The University must continue to use this data to scrutinize the fairness of its admissions program; to assess whether changing demographics have undermined the need for a race-conscious policy; and to identify the effects, both positive and negative, of the affirmative-action measures it deems necessary

In the past 30 or so years, Asian students have been sacrificed by elite universities at this altar of diversity, and the US Supreme Court has sanctioned this racial discrimination. Shameful.

Asian American students sued Harvard for discrimination and Harvard defended the case through trial arguing that its discrimination using soft factors was lawful. The trial judge, in a travesty, agreed with Harvard (emphasis added):

Plaintiff Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. (“SFFA”) alleges that Defendant President and Fellows of Harvard College (“Harvard”) discriminates against Asian American applicants in the undergraduate admissions process to Harvard College in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000d et seq. (“Title VI”).1 Harvard acknowledges that its undergraduate admissions process considers race as one factor among many, but claims that its use of race is consistent with applicable law.

* * *

… For purposes of this case, at least for now, ensuring diversity at Harvard relies, in part, on race conscious admissions. Harvard’s admission program passes constitutional muster in that it satisfies the dictates of strict scrutiny. The students who are admitted to Harvard and choose to attend will live and learn surrounded by all sorts of people, with all sorts of experiences, beliefs and talents. They will have the opportunity to know and understand one another beyond race, as whole individuals with unique histories and experiences. It is this, at Harvard and elsewhere that will move us, one day, to the point where we see that race is a fact, but not the defining fact and not the fact that tells us what is important, but we are not there yet. Until we are, race conscious admissions programs that survive strict scrutiny will have an important place in society and help ensure that colleges and universities can offer a diverse atmosphere that fosters learning, improves scholarship, and encourages mutual respect and understanding.

The case now is on appeal. The U.S. Department of Justice has recently filed an Amicus Brief to put its position before the appeals court even though it is not a party. DOJ sided with the Asian students. The entire Brief is worth a read.

The Introduction lays out the case in summary as to why Harvard’s racial manipulation is unlawful, and the District Court was in error in excusing Harvard’s discrimination:

As Harvard undisputedly considers applicants’ race when selecting its incoming freshman class, it bore the burden at trial of proving that its consideration of race in the admissions process is narrowly tailored to a cognizable compelling interest. Yet the unvarnished record shows that Harvard’s use of race is hardly tailored at all.

The trial record established that Harvard actively engages in racial balancing that Supreme Court precedent flatly forbids. Indeed, the racial composition of Harvard’s admitted class is strikingly stable from year to year. That result is no accident. The school considers applicants’ race at virtually every step, from rating applicants to winnowing the field of applicants when attempting to avoid an oversubscribed class. And its inclusion of race in the analysis frequently makes a dispositive difference. The district court found that Harvard’s use of race was “determinative” for “approximately 45% of all admitted African American and Hispanic applicants.” ADD84. Moreover, Harvard meticulously tracks and shapes the racial makeup of its emerging incoming class throughout the process, continuously comparing the new class’s racial composition with that of the previous year. This overt engineering of racial stasis bears no resemblance to the flexible, nonmechanical “plus” factor that the Supreme Court’s cases to date have permitted.

The evidence also showed that Harvard’s process has repeatedly penalized one particular racial group: Asian Americans. Indeed, Harvard concedes that eliminating consideration of race would increase Asian-American admissions while decreasing those of Harvard’s favored racial groups. The resulting racial penalty stems in part from one component of Harvard’s admissions rubric—a nebulous and entirely subjective “personal rating”—that consistently and inexplicably produces poorer scores for Asian Americans than for other applicants. That disparity is undisputed, and unexplained. Harvard bore, but did not carry, the burden of proving that this disparity is not the product of racial discrimination. As the district court observed, based on the trial record, one could not rule out racial discrimination as the source.

Despite highlighting various holes in Harvard’s evidence, the district court credited the school’s assurances that it does not employ racial biases in the personal rating, and gave the school the benefit of the doubt when the experts’ analyses conflicted. But strict scrutiny demanded much more. Faced with the results of Harvard’s process—a barely fluctuating racial composition and less favorable evaluations of Asian Americans—and the mechanisms that produced them, the court should have put Harvard to its proof. And even if the parties’ evidence were in equipoise, a tie should have gone to the plaintiff, not to Harvard. On this record, the court should have found that Harvard’s failure to demonstrate affirmatively that its admissions process meets the Supreme Court’s stringent criteria was fatal.

The wisdom of race-based admissions policies like Harvard’s is subject to vigorous debate. But Title VI and Supreme Court precedent impose limitations on Harvard’s ability to consider race in its admissions process—limitations that Harvard has not respected. It now falls to this Court to enforce these limitations and reverse the district court’s judgment.

Harvard Hates America, wrote John LeBoutillier in 1978. He was talking about the elitest attitude that looked down on the rest of the country. Perhaps a more modern configuration would be “Harvard Hates Asian America.”


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


JusticeDelivered | February 27, 2020 at 9:08 pm

The bottom line is that colleges and employers are promoting less competent people based on race. This shit has to stop.

The Friendly Grizzly | February 27, 2020 at 9:21 pm

This just proves Trump is a racist. /must I?

    While I can easily see that you don’t need the /s I have to point out that a lot of the lefty racist place whites and asians in the same non-POC category. So yes, they would still consider Trump to be a racist.

Subotai Bahadur | February 27, 2020 at 9:28 pm

Long ago when the world was new, and colleges had just expanded from a log with a Professor on one end and a student on the other; I was applying for college. My counselor told me I qualified for automatic admission to every college in the state EXCEPT Colorado School of Mines [which is one of the top 4 engineering schools in the country and bloody picky], Denver University which is private, too expensive, and has a stick inserted in a most inappropriate place, and Colorado College. Which had an unofficial but definite policy of never admitting anyone of Asian ancestry. They held to it for quite a while until Political Correctness took over.

Asians are sufficiently non-violent that they do not inspire fear in Harvard admin.

Subotai Bahadur

First off, I don’t play the privilege game. However, if we are talking about Asians and applying their silly logic, there are plenty lumped under that demographic who lack the inherent advantages of “Asian American” due to immigration from places not named China and Japan (and even S. Korea).

That alone should be a point of contest to this form of race-based admission, even if you somehow live by a warped code of ethics saying that race should be considered both positively and negatively when determining admission.

    artichoke in reply to healthguyfsu. | February 27, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    Delicately stepping over the question of what those inherent advantages might be, that some (presumably from China, Japan or S. Korea) have, and those from elsewhere in Asia do not.

      healthguyfsu in reply to artichoke. | February 28, 2020 at 11:49 am

      It’s no secret that these are the three most developed countries in the region. It wasn’t a dog whistle to a genetics argument if that’s what you are implying.

      And again, I don’t play the privilege game, for positive or negative, I’m merely pointing out the clumsiness of this stereotype to make the left “play by their own rules”.

We should be more dispassionate, and more passionate, in our analysis, though this may cause us to violate Alinsky’s Rule No. 4: “Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.” Harvard has assisted in creating the hell in which we live and I certainly agree, if no other harms were to come of it, that Harvard should have to exist within the same hell.

That said, the civil rights acts are aggressively destroying our inalienable rights to freedom of speech and freedom of association, all in the name of making right Slavery which ended in, more or less, March of 1865.

Because of slavery, something with which I was never a part of, on either end, I’m told I cannot choose with whom to do business, who to hire, who to fire, who to live next to, who to sell to, and whom I may speak well or ill of.

I am now a SLAVE to this law, and I frankly reject it and have for some decades. “Civil rights laws” devour all civil rights, and leave us with none.

If the Asians don’t like how they’re treated, they should form their own communities and deal with each other. They were not brought here in the holds of slave ships, they came here voluntarily. I’m disinterested in losing my INalienable right to freedom of association, my freedom of speech, my freedom to live where and how I wish, my freedom to deal with whom I please how I please, any further to any grasping greedy group that Demands association with any other person, group or institution. Damn them all!

And frankly, I’ve seen the interviews with black college students wherein they Admitted – admitted! – they want others forced to deal with them because THEY FEEL slighted. Not because they are slighted, but because they feel it. Appalling. Grow up. Life isn’t easy for anyone.

Real freedom, not fake freedom, that is my motto.

    alaskabob in reply to Close The Fed. | February 27, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    The problem is in the aura of “Harvard” just as in the stupid cheating scandal to get into USC. BUT… there is a more universal bias against Asians in many state schools and schools in general of subtracting points from SATs for Asians, a little less for Whites while adding points for Hispanics and a bunch for Blacks… well… BECAUSE… SO I agree that Harvard is bigoted and hiring a minority from there is time to ask serious questions about real learning. The rush to mediocrity through diversity should have negative repercussions.

      Close The Fed in reply to alaskabob. | February 27, 2020 at 10:26 pm

      Respectfully disagree, Bob. Meaning of “bigot”:
      a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.

      The definition doesn’t even make much sense, honestly.

      I have gotten to know a number of “Asians,” and their culture isn’t American. It just isn’t. They may pay their taxes, blah blah blah, but they cultural idiosyncracies I find abhorrent.

      I don’t know if they’re rushing to mediocrity or not. The point is, we should all choose who we wish to associate or not associate with. If Harvard wants to disgorge all federal monies, it should, and then it should admit and decline to admit, whoever it wants.

        We will disagree on “Asians”, but for my part primarily because I see no “American” culture per se. All the immigrants around me as I grew up, Germans, Irish, Swedish, Finns, Danes, etc. all had cultural identities which were most certainly not like each other and surely not WASP in any way, shape or form. These immigrants all wanted to come to America, most certainly not for welfare benefits which weren’t existing when they emigrated from Europe.

        That being said, we totally agree regarding freedom to associate and any school which wishes to avoid the strings attached to Federal tax money should do the right thing and ensure that they follow the Hillsdale model. Forego every penny of Federal taxpayer’s funding, to include student loans (while providing assistance outside of the student loan program for needy students).

          Close The Fed in reply to Edward. | February 28, 2020 at 12:31 pm

          It’s so frustrating that we can’t upvote and downvote specific paragraphs. I’ll disagree with someone, then they’ll write something I agree with, and I’m completely torn!!!

Diversity is divisive.
Diversity causes division.
Diversity kills freedom of speech.
Diversity is a drag.

Harvard thinks it’s doing a big favor to the racial minorities that receive preference in its admissions process. But it’s not, because of the mismatch that occurs and prevents minority students from achieving their desired careers.

I was a pre-med adviser at Harvard, and it was heartbreaking to see what happened to my minority pre-med students. Harvard cherry-picks the best and brightest minority students from all over the country. Nearly all of these minority students could excel in their pre-med courses in a typical state university. But many of them could not compete with the rabid, heavily over-prepared Harvard pre-meds, and they did not complete the difficult premed curriculum. Many of them switched to Afro or other less-challenging majors, and they never had a chance to apply to medical school.

The administrators at Harvard thought they were helping these minority students by giving them a racial preference. But instead, they were dashing their hopes of becoming doctors by throwing them into the mix with Harvard’s hyper-competitive pre-meds. Most of these promising minority students would now be doctors if they had gone to a good public university where they could excel.

    Close The Fed in reply to OldProf2. | February 27, 2020 at 10:56 pm

    This disheartens me, as I see so many foreign doctors here, and they could have been American.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Close The Fed. | February 27, 2020 at 11:01 pm

      But most of those foreign doctors if they went to medical school in the U.S. weren’t trying to live the “Harvard” fantasy…….

        Nota, young people are inexperienced and thus largely ignorant. The staff at Harvard know better, as OldProf2 explained.

        I blame no teenager for seeking admission to Harvard. It’s Harvard’s role to understand it’s place in the educational hierarchy and determine admissions accordingly.

        I applied to U. of Chicago. They rejected me. I assume they had some reasons. I still did what I wanted to do.

          notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Close The Fed. | February 27, 2020 at 11:30 pm

          Marketing is too much with us……

          notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Close The Fed. | February 27, 2020 at 11:33 pm

          I’m not blaming the students.

          However a “real” educational system would instill an attitude of “critical skepticism” as well as a good degree of self-assessment and self-knowing.

          Methinks the “public” educational system has been deliberately destroying those two skills – in part because it benefits them financially.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to OldProf2. | February 27, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    Thank you for your insight.

    It’s almost a literal shark pool where they will eat you up.

    artichoke in reply to OldProf2. | February 27, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    Somebody should tell them. They should choose another school even if it’s less prestigious. They should transfer out to State U. when they see they can’t cut premed at Harvard.

    It was their choice not to become doctors; they showed a greater commitment to Harvard than to medicine. And Harvard needs to keep a supply of students to support certain departments certainly including Afro.

      notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to artichoke. | February 27, 2020 at 11:38 pm

      And they should be called upon to consider the practical “marketing” aspects of school selection.

      “Let us sit down and count the cost.”

      For returning adult students and many just high school graduates, a state name university probably makes more sense if they plan to seek a job out of state. However, very often smaller, private colleges offer much better educational experiences, although the school name will usually draw a blank from employers out of state.

      Or as they say:
      “Only job performance counts after your first job out of school.”

Diversity (e.g. color quotas, color judgments, denial of individual dignity) is a double-edge scalpel. They need to lose their Pro-Choice, selective, opportunistic, politically congruent (“=”) religion.

The judge’s ruling in the Harvard case, not just the substantive result but the way she said it and went on and on about her leftist biases, was a sort of victory lap that needs to be reversed.

“The use of these … factors has been boosted by U.S. Supreme Court decisions upholding discrimination in the service of diversity. The argument is that diversity adds to the educational experience, so some discrimination to achieve that supposed educational end is permitted, as long as it’s not too blatant.”

A clearly unconstitutional and immoral ruling, which violates natural law. Empiricism tells us diversity is not a strength, e.g.:
New Peer Reviewed Academic Study Finds Diversity is Not a Strength — It erodes social trust

“This [limiting Asian enrollment] is achieved through the use of “soft” factors in admissions decisions similar to those used to cap Jewish enrollment starting in the 1920s. Harvard pioneered the way in limiting Jewish enrollment much as it has pioneered the way in capping Asian enrollment.”

Fake history. Since the early 20th century Jews have been (and continue to be) overrepresented at Harvard: (Jews currently comprise 29% of Harvard’s student population)

    William A. Jacobson in reply to Barry Soetoro. | February 28, 2020 at 12:36 am Read some history: “Institutional discrimination against Jewish applicants to Harvard took place under the administration of former University President Abbott Lawrence Lowell, who introduced an early system of “holistic” admissions at the College in the 1920s that took into account non-academic factors.

    As part of his admissions reforms, Lowell attempted to institute quotas limiting Jewish admit rates to the College. Lowell’s attempt failed, but Harvard’s new admissions process was still used to restrict the number of Jewish students at the school without the use of hard quotas.”

      Barry Soetoro in reply to William A. Jacobson. | February 28, 2020 at 1:00 am

      “A 1923 proposal by President A. Lawrence Lowell that Jews be limited to 15% of undergraduates was rejected, but Lowell did ban blacks from Harvard Yard, writing that “forcing” blacks and whites to live together “would increase a prejudice that … is most unfortunate and probably growing.””

      It appears an attempt to limit Jewish enrollment in the ’20s to 15% was not adopted. When did Jews ever comprise 15% of the US population? I understand a policy subsequently adopted to give preference to geographic diversity eventually reduced Jewish enrollment down to 15%, but you’re not going to denigrate diversity, are you? Arguing that a ethnic demographic is entitled to gross overrepresentation in enrollment smacks of ethnic supremacism.

        alaskabob in reply to Barry Soetoro. | February 28, 2020 at 2:55 am

        “Entitled”? I understand diversity….admit students who can scrape by with C’s and D’s so that A’s aren’t over-represented. College as affirmative action making up for bad high schools or as true challenges to educate the best and brightest?

          rabidfox in reply to alaskabob. | February 28, 2020 at 3:02 pm

          Why is diversity always based on race? There is cultural diversity as well – ex: son/daughter of a W.VA coal miner comes from as divers a culture as the son/daughter of a black lawyer. Same with children of first generation immigrants, etc. But all this ‘diversity’ nonsense is racially based.

The last time I looked, Asian was an ethnicity, and not a race.
Has that changed?

If you go on smarts only, you get normal Asians, exceptional whites and no blacks.

ScottTheEngineer | February 28, 2020 at 11:46 am

Allowing or dissalowing someone to attend a school based on a characteristic they have no control over is blatant racism.

The only determinitive factor would be just how racist hey are.

Diversity is bullshit. I’m smrter then y’all cause I went to class with 2 Jews, a negro 5 honkys and a chink.
Its disgusting.

Harvard, it seems, knows what all of us (although we might not admit it, let alone publicly declare it) know: that some are just more diverse and others are less diverse, and therefore to achieve diversity one must favor the diverse over the non-diverse.

For at least it’s still possible to publicly say such things without fear of civil or criminal liability. To see where this is going, you really should read and understand “Must We Defend Nazis: Why the First Amendment Should Not Protect Hate Speech and White Supremacy” by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic. It’s just $1.99 for the Kindle edition, and reading it is an education on where some insist “diversity” must go.

Within this work the authors argue that snce speech can have devastating effects (e.g. high blood pressure, strokes) therefore laws making “hate speech” a crime would not violate First Amendment. But until U.S. courts recognize this (Hello, Bernie?) there should be at least civil liability for “hate speech.”

Unfortunately Richard Delgado is not some streetcorner-preacher crank, he teaches civil rights and critical race theory at University of Alabama School of Law. The co-author is his wife.

So, if you still believe the law should be race-neutral (were you not warned that this belief is racist?) you’d best say so while you still can. Even if (for now) such speech is merely more evidence of Trump’s racism.