Harvard: Race can only help, never harm, applicants' chances

Harvard: Race can only help, never harm, applicants' chances

Harvard: Race can only help, never harm, applicants' chances

Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard is likely to be one of the most consequential race cases in decades, with affirmative action policies across the country at stake.

Here in Boston, Judge Allison Burroughs will preside over the trial.

Blum contends, despite having the best academic records, Asian-American applicants suffer the lowest admission rate among any race, as well as unfairly receiving the lowest score of any group on a subjective "personal" rating assigned by Harvard admissions officials.

"Harvard has held Asian Americans to a different academic standard then African Americans, Hispanics and Whites, so during the last four years that we've gathered our evidence we think that that evidence is compelling and we've asked the courts to compel Harvard to stop this discrimination", explained Edward Blum, president of Students for Fair Admissions.

Plaintiffs who charge Harvard University with bias against Asians in its admissions practices will have their day in court Monday.

The lawsuit, backed by the Trump administration, could give the newly cemented five-member conservative majority a chance to rule on affirmative action if the case makes it to the Supreme Court.

The Justice Department has also launched a probe into whether Yale University discriminates against Asians - something which is denies.

Harvard counters that courts have repeatedly upheld colleges' right to consider race.

University lawyer Bill Lee argued that "Harvard can not achieve its educational goals without considering race", insisting that race is never a negative in admissions.


Diep, who is studying neurobiology, believes that while his test scores could have been higher, his experience overcoming language and cultural barriers as a young Vietnamese immigrant in the San Fernando Valley helped him get into Harvard.

"When you eliminate race as a consideration, it is white people that benefit, not Asian-Americans", said Nicole Ochi, an attorney with Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Los Angeles.

As the law stands, colleges can consider race in admissions if it is one of many factors considered when evaluating a student for admission, said Curt Levey, a lawyer who argued against the University of MI in its affirmative action cases. Students for Fair Admissions has explicitly said their goal is to overturn that precedent. Asian Americans, who represent about 6 percent of the United States population, comprise 23 percent of Harvard's current freshman class.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was the key swing vote in the 2016 decision that preserved race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas at Austin.

The trial began almost four years after Harvard was sued by Students for Fair Admissions, a non-profit in Arlington, Virginia, that believes schools should not consider race when selecting students. Information regarding the specific use of race and ethnicity in Northwestern's admission decisions is not publicly available.

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".

Mortara said while Asian-Americans outperformed other groups on academic measures, they received low scores on the "personal" rating that measures an applicant's subjective likability and grit, a fact he said Harvard can not prove was not due to racial bias.

"We condemn the Department of Education's politically motivated attack on affirmative action and deliberate attempt to discourage colleges and universities from pursuing racial diversity at our nation's colleges and universities", Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in a statement at the time.

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