In a seminal decision in the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard University case, Harvard University has been declared victorious. Today, a federal judge declared Harvard’s undergraduate admissions policies to be constitutional, thereby effectively denying plaintiff’s challenge that the school discriminates against Asian American applicants in its admissions process. The decision in the high profile case will, without question, be appealed and it will likely end up on the docket of the Supreme Court but what a victory this marks for Harvard University, its undergraduate admissions office, and every university across this land that includes race as a factor in the admissions process. You can bet admissions officers in every Ivy League admissions office and beyond just breathed one big, collective sigh of relief. And, yes, they are celebrating.
Harvard’s Admissions Process Isn’t Perfect, But It’s Constitutional
As Reuters reports on the SFFA v. Harvard decision, “In a decision released on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs said that while Harvard’s admissions program is not perfect, ‘the court will not dismantle a very fine admissions program that passes constitutional muster, solely because it could do better.'” Well said, indeed, Judge Burroughs — herself a Harvard reject. As Anemona Hartollis chimes in for The New York Times in a piece entitled “Harvard Does Not Discriminate Against Asian-Americans in Admissions, Judge Rules,” “In her decision, Judge Burroughs gave an eloquent defense of the benefits of diversity, and said that while the time might come when it would be possible to look beyond race in college admissions, that time was not yet here.” No, no it’s not.
Change Begins Not in the Courts, But with the Populace
As we have long argued on the pages of our college admissions blog and in the press, we do believe Harvard and every highly selective college in America discriminates against Asian Americans in the admissions process. It’s not right. It’s not fair. It must end. But as we have also long argued, change does not begin in the courts. No, change begins with the populace. The gay rights movement in America didn’t begin with the landmark decision in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, legalizing same-sex marriage. Nor did the black rights movement begin with the Brown v. Board of Education case, which outlawed racial segretation in our schools.
Celebrations at Harvard and at Every College Across America
No, change starts on the streets. In places like Selma. In places like The Stonewall Inn. Real change starts with the people. It starts with a movement. Asian Americans absolutely face discrimination in the admissions process. It’s undeniable. But this case was never the way to bring to an end this unjust discrimination and the practice of Affirmative Action was never to blame for this discrimination. This case marks a major, landmark victory for Harvard and every college across America. And it’s a major setback for Edward Blum and the folks who wish to end the practice of Affirmative Action at our nation’s colleges. Congratulations to Harvard and to every college across America that considers race as a factor in admissions. What a day it is for you.
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