Asian-Americans Say They Can Prove Harvard Discrimination

They argue admissions data, 'incriminating emails' show what amounts to racial quota
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 5, 2018 7:30 AM CDT
A tour group walks through the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., in 2012.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

(Newser) – A discrimination complaint against Harvard is set for a January trial, but the dozen-plus Asian-Americans accusing the school of unfair admissions policies believe their evidence is so sound there's actually no need for one and would like a judge to decide their case. The Students for Fair Admissions, who applied to the school but were rejected and filed suit in 2014, say six years of admissions data on some 200,000 applicants clearly show Harvard discriminates against Asian-Americans by holding them to tougher standards than students of other races, reports the New York Times. The data, plus what the SFFA says are "Harvard's own inculpatory studies" and "incriminating emails" from admissions officers, were shared with the SFFA as part of the pretrial discovery process, per CNN. The SFFA now wants the documents made public; Harvard is fighting to prevent that.

Names have been redacted, but Harvard says the documents contain "deeply personal and highly sensitive information" that could be used to identify applicants. Though the SFFA argues that books and articles already explore Harvard’s admissions process, the university counters that "college admissions consultants and others who seek any advantage they can muster" might take advantage of details revealed, putting Harvard "at a severe competitive disadvantage." Harvard maintains it "does not discriminate against applicants from any group." In Harvard's class of 2021, 22% of students are Asian-American, 15% are African-American, 12% are Hispanic, and 2% are Native American, per CNN. The rest fall in the "all other" category, which mainly comprises white students.

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