The Department of Justice (DOJ) offered a public show of support last week for Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) in its lawsuit against Harvard for what SFFA calls anti-Asian discrimination.
A filing in the ongoing Massachusetts case is the Trump administration’s most significant entry into the debate over affirmative action and sets up a fight on the diversity policy that could have wide implications for higher education.
In the filing on Aug. 30, known as a statement of interest, the DOJ said Harvard’s race-based admissions process significantly disadvantages Asian American applicants compared to applicants of other racial groups. The DOJ also alleged that Harvard has failed to prove that it does not unlawfully discriminate against Asian Americans. DOJ officials said the government has a legal interest in the case because Harvard accepts millions of dollars each year in federal funding.
Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) hailed the DOJ’s filing as a responsible government move to provide equal protection of the laws to Asian American children. Last November, the DOJ started to investigate Harvard’s admissions practices as a direct result of the AACE-led civil rights complaint against Harvard in May 2015.
“The DOJ’s timely weigh-in on SFFA’s lawsuit demonstrates the federal government’s willingness to redress Harvard’s civil rights violations in the form of racial discrimination against Asian Americans, under the pretense of campus diversity. The DOJ has showcased true leadership and stewardship in justice and equity for all Americans,” said AACE in a statement.
According to a 2016 Gallup Poll, two-third of Americans oppose race-based college admissions. AACE president, Mr. Yukong Zhao, said, “History is on our side! More and more Asian Americans have woken up and will no longer tolerate such blatant discrimination.”
We wholeheartedly agree. We urge all colleges that adopt Harvard admissions model to stop their discriminatory practices. Rather than unlawful racial balancing, we can achieve racial diversity on college campuses through making improvements in K-12 education in minority communities.
James Doane says
I would respectfully suggest the editorial writer take another look at what’s going on here and the players involved. The DOJ under Jeff Sessions taking a stand against racially discriminatory admissions policies against Asians? Really? And what are the true objectives of AACE and whose interest is it really trying to serve? I would also suggest recognizing demonstrable racial diversity in recent entering classes at schools like Harvard, for example, before categorically accepting broad statements about racial discrimination in admissions, or implying that admission of any student was unearned. https://qz.com/1045920/harvards-incoming-class-is-majority-minority-for-the-first-time-in-history/. I went to my 40th Harvard college reunion a few years ago and was very pleased at seeing the enhanced racial diversity, across the board. My strong impression is that Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump would not agree. The editorial writer may not be intentionally beating the drum of the current administration, and might want to take a deeper dive into this complex issue? It is certainly fair to discuss the difference between equality and equity and the pros and cons of each and how to balance each. It is also fair to question whether college admissions is or should be or even can be purely meritocratic, even apart from balancing demographics, but that leads to a broader discussion, in which college admissions is just one small part.