Harvard University has one of the best academic reputations in the world. Students from all walks of life compete to be admitted to this prestigious institution. However, some don’t think that Harvard is treating everyone the same during its admission process.
Students For Fair Admissions is claiming that Harvard is biased when it comes to admitting Asian-Americans to the school. According to a CNN news report, the group is contending that Harvard admits fewer Asian-American students than it should because the school gives this group of students low marks when considering the admissions criteria of personality and likability.
No one on either side of the lawsuit contends that if academic achievement were the sole criteria for Harvard admission that Asian-Americans would have a higher level of representation within the student body. One study has shown that if academics were the sole criteria, 43 percent of students at Harvard would be Asian-Americans.
When a student’s extracurricular activities and their personal ratings were added into the admissions criteria mix, the number of Asian-American students would be 26 percent of the student body. Harvard uses an additional criteria that they call demographic that lowers the number of Asian-American students the plaintiffs in the lawsuit contend.
For the upcoming academic year, 22 percent of the student body will be Asian-American. This is half the number that would be admitted if academics were given a higher rating in the admissions process.
Harvard University is aggressively defending itself against the plaintiff’s contention that the institution shows bias in any way toward any group of students. Harvard representatives have stated that the plaintiffs are misleading people by their selective use of statistics. Harvard contends the plaintiffs are not considering data from in person interviews and the essays that students submit as part of the admissions material.
The plaintiffs’ lawsuit is stating that Harvard is violating federal laws. They contend that their Title VI Civil Rights Act rights are being violated by Harvard’s admissions policy. According to that act, an institution that receives any type of federal funding is barred from any type of discrimination against people of different races or ethnic groups.
The judge is the case is currently looking at data presented to him by the plaintiffs in the case. The judge will determine later in the year if the case has merit and will proceed to trial.