A coalition of more than 60 United States-based Asian groups filed on Friday a complaint against Harvard University over racial discrimination within the school’s admission process.
In 2011, a rejected Asian-American student filed a complaint with the Education Department against Harvard and Princeton University that was withdrawn the next year.
An alliance of Asian American groups on Friday filed a federal complaint against Harvard University, saying that school and other Ivy League institutions are using racial quotas to admit students other than high-scoring Asians.
Among the 64 organizations of Chinese, Korean and Pakistani students, there are four Indian-American groups: National Federation of Indian American Associations, Global Organization of People of Indian Origin-Los Angeles Chapter, BIT Sindri Alumni Association of North India, and American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin.
The university, it further alleged, is discriminating against Asian-American applicants by using race as a major factor beyond what is allowed by relevant Supreme Court decisions.
The coalition’s new push also drew an immediate response from Asian-American members of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, who said they hoped the complaint wasn’t a “back door attack on affirmative action”. It characterized the attacks on such policies as attempts to use “wedge politics” to stir up opposition to policies that encourage diversity and its associated educational benefits.
“We need to get rid of discrimination of Asian Americans, and we would like procedural justice for all racial groups,” Zhao advised NBC News.
The complaint is directed primarily at Harvard’s undergraduate division. After being found not guilty, Harvard’s rate of Asian-American enrollment decreased about 5% over the following decade. At Harvard, Asian-Americans made up 21 percent of the freshman class admitted in March, more than any other group apart from whites. He told the Crimson that his research suggests that Asian-Americans are disadvantaged in college admissions but it is not clear because all parts of a student’s application are not available to researchers. Still, for Asian-American parents and students who see academic success as a moral and social imperative, any hint of discrimination, especially at a school like Harvard, is difficult to accept. Espenshade, who has written extensively about how Asian Americans are disadvantaged in the admissions process.
When Carl Hum, vice president for policy and programs with Asian Americans Advancing Justice, said from the crowd that affirmative action has repeatedly been upheld as constitutional, Zhao replied that race-based affirmative action is not “effective” because it sidesteps poor children.
The lawsuit filed against Harvard cites an Asian-American student who was denied admission despite being valedictorian of a competitive high school, achieving a perfect ACT score and a perfect score of 800 on two of the SAT II subject exams, and participating in numerous extracurricular and volunteer activities.