Harvard University, UNC sued for racial discrimination

Harvard

Harvard

BOSTON Even though they bring stronger academic records than any other racial group, Asian-Americans who apply to Harvard University face the lowest acceptance rates, according to a study of admissions records filed Friday by a group that's suing the school over alleged discrimination.

In a statement, Harvard said on Friday that a full analysis of the data shows the school "does not discriminate against applicants from any group, including Asian-Americans, whose rate of admission has grown 29 percent over the last decade".

The two sides made dueling motions Friday calling on Judge Allison Burroughs to rule in their favor through summary judgment, but the case is expected to go to trial in the fall.

If Harvard applicants were granted admission based exclusively on their academic merit, Asian-Americans would have made up more than 43 percent of the 2013 freshmen...according to a Harvard study from that same year.

SFFA said in its court filing that Harvard's admission process is set up to work against Asian-American students.

"What Harvard will not admit", Students for Fair Admissions said, "is that race is not only an important factor, it is the dominant consideration in admitting Hispanics and African-Americans".

Harvard counters that the study was never meant to evaluate possible discrimination and that it was "incomplete, preliminary and based on limited inputs". It also cites higher scores in standardized tests for admitted Asian-American students compared to the university's average.

In court papers, Arlington, Virginia-based Students for Fair Admissions said an Asian-American male applicant with a 25 percent chance of admission would have a 35 percent chance if he was white, 75 percent if he were Hispanic and a 95 percent chance if he were black.

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In its own court filings, Harvard argues that Blum and the Students for Fair Admissions having failed to convince the US Supreme Court to overturn the use of race in college admissions in the University of Texas case, are now trying again with Asian-Americans.

For UNC's part, the school's "racial preference for each underrepresented minority student (which equates to a penalty imposed upon white and Asian-American applicants) is so large that race becomes the 'defining feature of his or her application, '" according to the

"Mr. Blum and his organization's incomplete and misleading data analysis paint a dangerously inaccurate picture of Harvard College's whole-person admissions process by omitting critical data and information factors, such as personal essays and teacher recommendations, that directly counter his arguments", Harvard said in a statement.

Yet Harvard alumni who interview applicants and provide their own ratings generally scored Asian-Americans higher than whites, a contrast that Arcidiacono says suggests bias.

In its brief, Harvard called the lawsuit by Blum's group "the latest salvo by ideological opponents of the consideration of race in university admissions". Accounting for extracurricular and personal ratings, the share of whites rose again, and Asian-Americans fell to 26 percent.

Blum also was a driving force behind that case, helping Texas student Abigail Fisher sue the university.

Lawyers for the students claimed leaders of Harvard's admission team were evasive during depositions and appeared to suffer memory problems.

The documents also show that Harvard has considered race-neutral admissions policies in recent years, including socio-economic factors and geography, but found that neither were sufficient.

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