After launching an investigation into Harvard University's acceptance rates, Students for Fair Admissions Inc accused the Ivy League school of offering Asian American students admission at a disproportionately lower rate than other ethnic groups, The New York Times reports. The lawsuit, slated to go to trial in October, argues that an Asian American student would need to fare higher than a white student on an SAT exam to be granted admission.
Edward Blum, leader of the prominent Arlington, Virginia-based affirmative action activist group, alleges an Asian American male student with a 25 percent chance of acceptance with the same SAT score would, all factors the same, have a 95 percent chance of acceptance if he were black, 75 percent if he were Hispanic, and 35 if he were white, according to Reuters. Blum states in the lawsuit that “This filing definitively proves that Harvard engages in racial balancing, uses race as far more than a ‘plus’ factor, and has no interest in exploring race-neutral alternatives. It is our hope that the court will carefully study the statistical, documentary, and testimonial evidence amassed against Harvard and end these unfair and unlawful practices.”
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." But, according to the New York Times the school never publicly released a 2013 report by the school's own researchers that found white students outranked Asian American students in subjective areas like having a "positive personality" or being "widely respected," according to an investigation from a Harvard research team.
Both sides have filed for summary judgment in the case — meaning a judge would rule for one side or the other immediately — but if that request is denied, the case will go to trial in October, just in time for the next school year's application season.
Teen Vogue has also reached out to Students for Fair Admissions and will update this space once more information becomes available.
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