One of the counts in which Harvard University was charged in the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard University case was whether or not the school intentionally discriminated against Asian American applicants. While we have long been outspoken that Harvard, along with all highly selective colleges across America, discriminates against Asian American applicants, we have also long asserted that these schools don’t discriminate intentionally. Rather, they discriminate against Asian American applicants unintentionally. And how? Admissions officers, like all human beings, stereotype. They are victims of implicit bias. They pit one Asian American applicant who plays the piano and competes in mathletes against another Asian American applicant who plays the cello and conducts science research. Oh, but Ivy Coach, that’s terrible! And you’re right. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t true. In fact, it’s at the heart of the underlying claim in the SFFA v. Harvard case — even if it’s not so provable. As Avenue Q taught us, we are all a little bit racist. Even you. As Judge Burroughs wrote in her decision’s conclusion, “The process would likely benefit from conducting implicit bias trainings for
admissions officers.” Doesn’t that say it all?
Judge Concludes Harvard Does Not Exhibit Racial Animus
In fact, in her well written decision in the landmark admissions case, Judge Allison Burroughs determined that Harvard does not intentionally discriminate against Asian American applicants. We don’t disagree in the least. As she writes, “SFFA’s intentional discrimination claim, Count I, requires the Court to determine whether Harvard’s admissions program violates Title VI through intentional discrimination against Asian Americans notwithstanding the Court’s conclusion that Harvard has shown that its admissions program serves its compelling interest in diversity, that some racial categorizations are necessary to serve that interest, that it does not engage in proscribed racial balancing, and that no workable and available, fully race-neutral alternatives would suffice to meet Harvard’s goals.”
Judge Burroughs continues, “1. Throughout this trial and after a careful review of all exhibits and written submissions, there is no evidence of any racial animus whatsoever or intentional discrimination on the part of Harvard beyond its use of a race conscious admissions policy, nor is there evidence that any particular admissions decision was negatively affected by Asian American identity. 2. A race-conscious admissions program allows Harvard to achieve a level of robust diversity that would not otherwise be possible, at least at this time. 3. The Court firmly believes that Asian Americans are not inherently less personable than any other demographic group, just as it believes that Asian Americans are not more intelligent or more gifted in extracurricular pursuits than any other group. 4. There is a statistical difference in the personal ratings with white applicants faring better [than] Asian American applicants. Asian American applicants, however, do better on the extracurricular and academic ratings than their white counterparts…5. Harvard’s admissions program is conceptually narrowly tailored to meet its interest in diversity.”
Agree with the judge’s conclusions? Disagree? Let us know your thoughts on the subject by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.
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