Two federal lawsuits were filed this week — one against Harvard University and the other against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — and both center on race-based Affirmative Action policies at the universities. In particular, the lawsuits focus on how white and Asian American applicants to these universities are discriminated against in the admissions process. If you’re a regular reader of our college admissions blog, you know full well where we at Ivy Coach stand on this issue. Asians and Asian Americans are indeed discriminated against in the highly selective college admissions process. Asian American applicants are judged against other Asian American applicants. Those with perfect math SAT scores who play first chair violin fit the profile of so many other Asian American applicants are are evaluated accordingly. Yes, stereotyping does indeed play a role in highly selective college admissions. The sooner you accept this fact, the better.
According to an article on the litigation facing Harvard and UNC on “WBUR,” “Harvard University’s General Counsel Robert Iuliano pointed out that the Supreme Court’s landmark 1978 decision in Regents of University of California v. Bakke, which upheld affirmative action, specifically cited Harvard’s admissions plan as a ‘legally sound approach’ to admissions. ‘Then and now, the college considers each applicant through an individualized, holistic review having the goal of creating a vibrant academic community that exposes students to a wide-range of differences: background, ideas, experiences, talents and aspirations,’ he said.” Is the admissions process holistic? Absolutely! But that doesn’t mean that Asians and Asian Americans don’t face discrimination even in a holistic process.
What do you think about the lawsuits facing Harvard and UNC? UNC seems to be in quite some quicksand of land between the cheating scandal and now this lawsuit that alleges the university discriminates in its admissions practices. Do you think the university’s reputation has been tarnished? We’re curious to hear your thoughts!