Harvard affirmative action case goes to trial Monday

Harvard affirmative action case goes to trial Monday

Advocates opposed to the lawsuit say an end to race-conscious admissions would ultimately harm Asian-American students, among them lower-income Chinese, Southeast Asians and others.

Harrison Chen, an Asian-American student who was rejected by Harvard and has worked with the plaintiff organization, Students for Fair Admissions, disagrees. The pretrial phase of the suit exposed that Harvard received internal warnings about potential bias against Asian Americans in recent years but apparently did little to follow up.

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.

In June, Breitbart News reported that Harvard University had been accused of perpetuating discriminatory admissions practices against Asian-American applicants.

Harvard disputes the claim and says race is only one small factor in their secretive student selections process.

Barring a surprise change in strategy, the plaintiff's attorneys do not plan to call as witnesses any Asian Americans who allege that they were victimized by Harvard. "People understand and recognize that we learn from our differences - that creating a diverse learning environment enriches the learning experience for every student on campus", local media quoted Bacow as speaking at a higher education event in Detroit.

But to understand the stakes of the case, it is important not to conflate two separate concepts: the legal issue of affirmative action and the factual issue of whether Harvard discriminated against one particular racial group.

Harvard, the Journal reported, denies the allegation, insisting that, in line with Supreme Court precedent governing federal anti-discrimination statutes, race is just one of many factors it takes into account in making admissions decisions.

He said the Supreme Court had long supported Harvard's approach, describing it as an "illuminating example" in a landmark 1978 ruling that allowed race to be considered in college admissions in order to promote diversity.

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According to charts Hughes displayed, Harvard sends such recruiting letters to black, Hispanic, and Native American students with top grades who hit at least 1100 on the combined math and verbal SAT score (the top score is 1600).

"Harvard never considers an applicant's race to be negative", Lee said.

"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.

"Let me be unequivocal: The College's admissions process does not discriminate against anybody", Bacow wrote.

"My stance on affirmative action is a general reminder to the rest of America-and especially to Edward Blum-that I, along with so many other Asian-Americans, refuse to be tools of white supremacy, and that we stand in alliance with all communities of color", Diep said.

Also Sunday, demonstrators rallied in Harvard Square in opposition to the lawsuit.

Her legal advocacy group is participating in the trial representing a group of current and former Harvard students, including Diep, who have been granted special status as friends of the court.

The lawsuit, backed by the Trump administration, could eventually reach the Supreme Court, giving the newly cemented five-member conservative majority a chance to bar the use of affirmative action to help minority applicants get into college.

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