What Is The Affirmative Action Lawsuit Against Harvard?

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Rose Roche
Contributing Writer

Harvard has been accused of being racially biased toward Asian Americans in its college application process, resulting in a lawsuit against the Ivy League school.

The lawsuit labeled “Students For Fair Admissions (SFFA) vs. Harvard” claims that the prestigious university grants entry to applicants of other races who have lower scores and grades than those of the denied Asian Americans students. They further say that the Harvard admissions office puts a cap on the number of Asian students allowed to be admitted each year. 

While diving into the application process, SFFA found that Harvard has a personal rating score incorporated in its application process that includes recommendations and personal letters from teachers and family members.

“The plaintiffs say internal reports from Harvard’s Office of Institutional Research suggest the university regularly underscored Asian-American applicants on this portion of the review,” according to a Vox article.  

SFFA’s goal is to revoke Harvard’s right to use affirmative action during the admission process. Affirmative action allows universities to ask which race applicants are. The program was designed to minimize racial discrimination in college admissions and was passed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.

Since this was passed, there has been controversy surrounding the guidelines of affirmative action and multiple lawsuits against the program. Harvard has denied claims of bias against the Asian American community and supports the use of affirmative action, along with other Ivy League schools.

Admissions officers at these institutions say that due to the limited number of black and Hispanic applicants, knowing race is necessary so that the schools can maintain a diverse student body. Without it, they claim, the percentage of black and Hispanic students will rapidly decrease in Ivy League schools.

SSFA counteracted by saying this is proof students with lower scores on their applications are being admitted due to their racial minority. The advocacy group believes that without affirmative action, Asian Americans would have a higher chance of being admitting into Harvard.

Photo courtesy of Kelly DeLay vis Flickr.