Harvard, Asian-American group spar in case over alleged bias in admissions

Harvard University in Cambridge Mass

Harvard University in Cambridge Mass

An internal Harvard University review from five years ago suggested Asian American applicants would be let into the undergraduate college in much greater numbers if academic performance were the only criterion for admission, according to court documents made public Friday.

In a statement provided to Teen Vogue today, Harvard says its Asian American acceptance rates have increased by 29 percent over the last decade and that "Mr. Blum and his organization's incomplete and misleading data analysis paint a dangerously inaccurate picture of Harvard College's whole-person admissions process by omitting critical data and information factors".

The Johnston Gate at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Harvard consistently rated Asian-American applicants lower than any other race on personal traits like "positive personality", likability, courage and kindness, according to an analysis of more than 160,000 student records filed as part of a lawsuit against the university.

Attorneys for Harvard called the internal review "incomplete, preliminary and based on limited inputs".

It marks a step forward in a lawsuit that has lasted almost four years and raises implications for many other colleges that, like Harvard, say they consider race as one of many factors to gather a diverse mix of students. But the personality ratings drastically reduced their chances of getting admitted. Of those admitted, 22.7 percent were Asian American, 15.5 percent were African American, 12.2 percent were Latino, and 2 percent were Native American.

After Donald Trump became the United States president past year, the justice department began investigating whether Harvard's policies are discriminatory because they limit the acceptance of Asian Americans.

The suit, brought by Students for Fair Admissions, says Harvard imposes what is in effect a soft quota of "racial balancing".

After accounting for Harvard's preference for recruited athletes and legacy applicants, the proportion of whites went up, while the share of Asian-Americans fell to 31 percent. The inquiry, uncovered by Blum's group, was conducted amid earlier allegations of discrimination against Harvard.

To blame, he wrote, are subjective rating categories for which Asian-American applicants consistently received lower scores than their white peers. When extracurricular activities and personal ratings were considered, the percentage of Asian-Americans dropped to 26 percent.

University officials have painted the lawsuit as an attack on their ability to consider race in admissions, which they say is necessary to ensure diversity on campus. The court has denied Harvard's motions to dismiss, and the case is moving forward, which caused the university to defend its admissions practices in an email to its alumni. The university lashed out at the founder of Students for Fair Admissions, Edward Blum, accusing him of using Harvard to replay a previous challenge to affirmative action in college admissions, Fisher v. the University of Texas at Austin.

In 2016, the nation's highest court rejected a high-profile challenge to a University of Texas program created to boost the enrollment of minority students, which was brought by a white woman. The lawsuit was filed by Students for Fair Admissions, a nonprofit focused on challenging race as a consideration in college admissions.

Harvard argued that its records initially should be filed confidentially to protect students and the admissions process.

The judge ultimately sided with Harvard, but Blum said Friday that he believes the rest of the records will be released "in the next few weeks".

Recommended News

  • UK Pop Star Robbie Williams Kicks Off World Cup With His Finger

    UK Pop Star Robbie Williams Kicks Off World Cup With His Finger

    English singer Robbie Williams headlined the ceremony with his 1997 hit "Let me entertain you". The 2018 Federation Internationale de Football Association world cup is already upon us.
    Julen Lopetegui CRIES next to Florentino Perez during unveiling

    Julen Lopetegui CRIES next to Florentino Perez during unveiling

    The opportunity now falls to Hierro, who went out of his way to reiterate that very little was going to change. Global highlights: David was part of the 2010 Spain squad that won the World Cup so has been there, done that.
    Kilauea Unleashes More Small Blasts, Snaking Lava

    Kilauea Unleashes More Small Blasts, Snaking Lava

    Scientists warn against venturing too close to lava hitting water, saying it could expose people to dangers from flying debris. Thousands of residents have fled their homes and at least 600 homes have been destroyed.
  • Gal Gadot shares her look from Wonder Woman sequel

    Gal Gadot shares her look from Wonder Woman sequel

    Perhaps the most important photograph for fans is of Wonder Woman herself and Gadot took to Twitter to give them what they wanted. As previously announced, the film also stars Kristen Wiig in the role of the Super-Villain The Cheetah, as well as Pedro Pascal .
    Alvarez-Golovkin rematch in September says DL Hoya

    Alvarez-Golovkin rematch in September says DL Hoya

    After 12pm Pt, there was no word on whether or not Gennady Golovkin took the deal to fight Canelo Alvarez on September 15th. They fought to a draw in the first meeting in September 2017. "It's finally on", Loeffler said in a text to The Post.
    NCAA passes reform that allows athletes to transfer without permission

    NCAA passes reform that allows athletes to transfer without permission

    Under the new system, passed with an October 15th effective date, a player gives his school notice of his plan to transfer. Coaches at one school can get a message to a great player at another school that the door would be open to a transfer.
  • Deputy killed, another wounded in shooting in Kansas City

    Deputy killed, another wounded in shooting in Kansas City

    The other deputy had not been identified as of Friday evening, but was in critical condition at the University of Kansas Hospital. Kansas City police have fatally shot a woman who barricaded herself in a shed for hours after she was seen outside with a sword.

    Taxi runs into crowd in central Moscow, seven people injured

    A witness said the driver got out of the auto , tried to run away but was caught by police, according to Reuters news agency. An ambulance is parked near a damaged taxi, which ran into crowds of people in central Moscow , Russia June 16, 2018.
    Fox News host calls Trump a 'dictator' in TV gaffe

    Fox News host calls Trump a 'dictator' in TV gaffe

    Trump and Kim were marking an historic moment as the first time a sitting USA president has met with a North Korean leader. The broad agreement was light on specifics, largely reiterating previous public statements and past commitments.
  • Melania 'Hates to See' Families Separated at Border

    Melania 'Hates to See' Families Separated at Border

    About 2,000 children were separated from their families over a six-week period ending in May. "They are holding the kids hostage". Since then, the administration has been steadily eroding protections for immigrant children and families.
    China retaliates immediately after United States  announces tariffs

    China retaliates immediately after United States announces tariffs

    China has previously threatened to buy Airbus planes instead of Boeing jets if the United States steps out of line on trade. The list released on Friday is slightly shorter, incorporating feedback and criticism received in the ensuing weeks.
    After IG Report, Donald Trump Signals War Against ‘Very Dishonest Intelligence’ Agencies

    After IG Report, Donald Trump Signals War Against ‘Very Dishonest Intelligence’ Agencies

    The Justice Department's handling of the investigation into Clinton was attacked by Democrats and Republicans alike. Comey, however, said he acted appropriately in his handling of the Clinton email investigation.

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.