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Harvard Lawsuit Brings to Light Bigger Issue

Harvard University is being sued based off claims saying they are bias against Asian Americans.

Richard+Martinez+III+holds+up+a+certificate+showing+his+admission+to+Harvard%2C+which+he+will+attend+in+the+fall%2C+on+Monday%2C+June+13%2C+2017.++%28Craig+Kohlruss%2FFresno+Bee%2FTNS%29
Richard Martinez III holds up a certificate showing his admission to Harvard, which he will attend in the fall, on Monday, June 13, 2017.  (Craig Kohlruss/Fresno Bee/TNS)

Richard Martinez III holds up a certificate showing his admission to Harvard, which he will attend in the fall, on Monday, June 13, 2017. (Craig Kohlruss/Fresno Bee/TNS)

TNS

TNS

Richard Martinez III holds up a certificate showing his admission to Harvard, which he will attend in the fall, on Monday, June 13, 2017. (Craig Kohlruss/Fresno Bee/TNS)

Kamryn Rogers, Features Editor

Harvard University’s admissions process is undergoing a public investigation with arguments beginning Monday, Oct. 15 based off allegations that the esteemed Ivy League university discriminates against Asian Americans. Their legal team denied any discrimination in their opening statement at Boston’s federal courthouse, claiming race is only one factor in their admission process.They have brought people to testify in support of a race-conscious admissions and the benefits of campus diversity. Those who will be asked under oath to explain and defend the racial aspect of the university’s admissions process range from the current admissions team and former president, to some students and alumni.

None of the Asian-Americans who the lawsuit claims were victims of racial bias are expected to take the witness box in federal court in Boston. Their identities are confidential, and the details of their stories widely unknown except to lawyers who questioned them preceding the trial.

It’s of interest to know that this lawsuit was started by a conservative activist named Edward Blum who for a long time, has tried to oppose policies that promote racial diversity in America. His latest fixation is on ending the consideration of race in inclusive admissions practices.

This lawsuit lumps together all Asian-American applicants to make the argument that when compared to white applicants, they are discriminated against. Essentially he’s using them as a pawn to advance his personal agenda of ending affirmative action in higher education. Some feel that if this case goes to Supreme Court, the court’s now conservative majority may reverse a 1978 ruling that upheld affirmative action, a policy that gives students from underrepresented racial groups an advantage in the college admissions process. The removal of this system would reverse the policy that was designed to increase fairness, opportunity, and create a more diverse educational environment.

There is no real indication of bias in Harvard’s admissions statistics. Last year’s admission process consisted on 42,749 applicants who applied to be apart of Harvard’s freshman class. 2,024 students were admitted with only 1,653 attending the university in the fall, which is less than 4 percent.

The justification that many Asian Americans use for wanting to end affirmative action is that they are held to higher standards than others, and often their rejection boils down to the single factor of race. It sounds like they want is to be given a preference because they claim victimization. But of those admitted last year, 23 percent were Asian-American, which was second biggest race demographic after white. In essence,  Asian-Americans made up almost a fourth of their 2022 class population, showing that there is no evidence that Harvard is illegally discriminating against anyone especially not them.

Harvard does not say they accept the “smartest” students or the ones with the most extensive extra-curricular pedigree. So there is no way to know if they have bias towards anyone unless you went through all of those applications and even then, you wouldn’t have absolute knowledge that they were discriminating against one race. Plus, many Asian-American students and alumni of Harvard are protesting against this lawsuit saying that a race-conscious application helped them get into this university, proving again that if anything, race is beneficial in helping applicant’s chances.

This lawsuit has no real evidence to back up its claim. It is only an attempt to divide this country even more than it’s already is. There is no longer a standard answer to what “elite” schools like Harvard aspire for in their prospective applicants. And in reality, it’s just one college. Just because one goes to Harvard or any other private school does not mean they will inevitably be more successful than someone who goes to public school or someone who doesn’t even go to college. This is a clear indication that this lawsuit is not so much as a Harvard problem as it is a society’s problem. If we didn’t place as much outsized emphasis and respect on institutions like these, they wouldn’t possess as much power and we wouldn’t be in the predicament we are in now.

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Kamryn Rogers, Features Editor

Favorite Show: Insecure

Spirit Animal: Cheetah

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