Harvard affirmative action case goes to trial Monday

Erika Holt
October 18, 2018

Students for Fair Admissions, a group representing Asian American applicants, alleges in the lawsuit that Harvard violates civil rights in multiple ways through an admissions process in which race is a known factor.

"For many years Asian Americans have been under the impression that Harvard and other elite universities treat them differently than they do white, African American and Hispanic applicants".

Yu traveled to Boston to take part in a rally with other supporters of the plaintiffs, and to witness the trial taking place in federal district court.

The lawsuit was filed in 2014 and carries implications for many other USA colleges that say they consider race to admit a diverse mix of students.

Asian Americans, the document showed, often were required to have higher standardized test scores on average than peers from other racial groups to qualify for a letter encouraging promising students to think about Harvard. William Lee, a lawyer for the school and a member of its governing board, said race is just one of many factors that can work in favor of an applicant, getting no more weight than a student's geography or family income.

"There's no other possible explanation", he said.

Blum previously helped coordinate a lawsuit accusing the University of Texas of discriminating against white students.

The US Supreme Court ruled against him in 2016, upholding the university's admissions policy. But he said race alone never by itself explains why an applicant is denied admission.

But, the plaintiffs argue, Harvard routinely excludes otherwise qualified Asian candidates on the basis of intangible, subjective measures like "positive personality", likability, courage, kindness, and being "widely respected".

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According to a leaked email, Kavanaugh said the University of MI policy was "unconstitutional because race-neutral programs should be employed, where possible, to achieve the goal of ensuring diversity and ensuring that minorities have access to and are represented in universities".

A group suing Harvard University says the school uses a loosely defined "personal rating" to discriminate against Asian-Americans who apply to the school.

A lawsuit has challenged the use of race as a factor in Harvard admissions - a decades-old push to boost minority enrollments at America's oldest and perhaps most prestigious university.

In June, Breitbart News reported that Harvard University had been accused of perpetuating discriminatory admissions practices against Asian-American applicants. "If they weren't real, this lawsuit couldn't move forward". Many demonstrators held slogans and banners on which the following is written: "My race should not hurt me in admissions" or "Discrimination in the name of diversity is wrong".

Adam Mortara, who gave the opening statement for the SFFA, launched into Harvard's "holistic" process.

"And race is never the reason a student is denied". Its leaders also believe the suit threatens the flexibility that other courts have granted schools to build the type of student population that's best for their own campus. This couldn't be further from the truth - a study of the 2011-2012 school year found that while 81 percent of Asian-American students had access to college-preparatory math and science courses, only 57 percent of black students enjoyed the same privileges.

"That's race discrimination plain and simple, isn't it Dean Fitzsimmons?"

The case is going to a bench trial, meaning it will be decided by a judge, not a jury. The outcome of this case may not necessitate that end but it would make a pretty strong case for doing so.

"The sinister truth is that while the lawsuit in question only targets Harvard explicitly, its controversial nature and past behavior of its litigator means it's likely to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court".

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