Suit Against Harvard Over Asian American Discrimination

Asian Americans at Harvard, Harvard Asian Discrimination, Harvard Asian Americans in Admissions

Harvard has answered back to claims the university discriminates against Asian American applicants (photo credit: Chensiyuan).

In the suit making headlines around the world in which Harvard University is accused of discriminating against Asian American applicants, the school has barked back. In a Friday court filing, the university deemed a prior analysis of six years worth of its admission data as “fundamentally unreliable” because, they argue, the data was cherry picked in the hope of proving Asian Americans have it tougher than do applicants of other races in the school’s admissions process. In its rebuttal, the university also argues that it has in the past attempted alternatives to using race as a factor in admission but such alternatives would lead to less diverse and academically weaker incoming classes.

Harvard Files Rebuttal to Claims of Asian American Discrimination in Admissions

As Melissa Korn writes in a piece for “The Wall Street Journal” entitled “Harvard Says Ignoring Race in Admissions Would Hurt School’s Diversity, Academic Excellence,” “Harvard said in Friday’s filing that it already diversifies its class in other ways than race, including with a $200 million annual financial aid program and flagging applicants who seemed to excel despite modest backgrounds. The school also eliminated early-action admissions from 2012 to 2015, based on assumptions that such programs favor students with means who are more familiar with the admissions process, but reinstituted it after the switch was deemed to have ‘hindered’ diversity efforts. The school also noted that an internal committee in 2017 found ending race-conscious admissions would lead to a 50% decline in the proportion of African-American students, and the corresponding increase would primarily benefit white students. They also determined that the proportion of admitted students with the highest academic ratings would drop by 19% if Harvard focused more on socioeconomic diversity without consideration of race.”

The Cherrypicking of Arguments For and Against Asian American Discrimination in Admissions at Harvard

Harvard’s retort to the allegations that the university discriminates against Asian American applicants is a powerful one. Is it true? Yes and no. Of course Harvard — and all highly selective colleges — discriminates against Asian American applicants. But just as the group suing Harvard can cherrypick arguments in support of discrimination, so too can Harvard cherrypick arguments that combat these allegations. Harvard’s elimination of Early Action between 2012 – 2015 and the school’s subsequent reinstatement of the policy is one such example. As we’ve long argued, contrary to popular belief, it is a misconception that the Early round favors wealthy, non-diverse candidates.

If an underrepresented minority applicant from a low-income background applied in the Early round to a highly selective college, you bet that student would have an advantage over an applicant with a very similar profile who chose to apply Regular Decision. Just because some underrepresented minority applicants from low-income backgrounds are hesitant to apply to a school in the Early round does not mean that school’s Early policy caters to the wealthy elite. In fact, as Harvard wisely argues, the elimination of their Early Action policy between 2012 – 2015 led to a drop in diversity, a fact which runs contrary to the arguments of the college admissions peanut gallery. But it is indeed consistent with everything we at Ivy Coach have always said.

But what do our readers think of Harvard’s bark back? Let us know your thoughts on Harvard’s rebuttal to claims of Asian American discrimination in admission by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you.

Categories:

Tags: , , , ,

5 Comments

  • Katherine says:

    As someone who is Asian-American, who’s only 13. I am completely offended. “But just as the group suing Harvard can cherrypick arguments in support of discrimination, so too can Harvard cherrypick arguments that combat these allegations.” How could you say that? Or Just because some underrepresented minority applicants from low-income backgrounds are hesitant to apply to a school in the Early round does not mean that school’s Early policy caters to the wealthy elite. In fact, as Harvard wisely argues, the elimination of their Early Action policy between 2012 – 2015 led to a drop in diversity, a fact which runs contrary to the arguments of the college admissions peanut gallery. But it is indeed consistent with everything we at Ivy Coach have always said.” Tell me, I am a straight A student, who takes special classes, which my sister also had as well, who got a near perfect score on the SAT’s, but still didn’t get into IVY leagues. Explain to me this, IF they could “cherrypick” then let me say a point. The majority of the low income families, do pay what they must pay. Explain why the majority of the unpaid student loans were from BLACK students. Explain why asians must apply “early” for an “advantage” when the most we get is a -50 bonus on a dang SAT’s? So do explain for me.

    • Ivy Coach says:

      Katherine, we don’t at all understand the point you’re trying to make nor do we understand why you feel the need to shout that the majority of unpaid student loans are from African American students, offering no data to buttress your argument. Might we gently suggest that if you’re trying to chastise schools for discriminating against Asian American applicants, you avoid discriminating against your African American peers? If you have a point to make or a question to pose, make it concisely and avoid denigrating the African American community.

  • Katherine says:

    I don’t know if my reply was posted or not, but I am NOT shouting out the statistics, I am pointing out a factor that you, a resource SHOULD have added, “cherrypicked” out. As someone who’s been part of a African American neighborhood, and asking around, every single person replied that they found it racist to THEM because of the low expectations. It’s not discrimination, IF I even go out and ask around, getting approval from AFRICAN AMERICAN students. I don’t think you’re checking your statistics right, so before you try to pull out the “racism card” please do get a survey and check with others, as well as actually find out what the definition of racism is.

    • Ivy Coach says:

      Katherine, we can’t reply to what you’re saying because we don’t understand the arguments you’re trying to make. Placing words in all caps doesn’t make your points understandable.

  • Ed says:

    I look forward to the day when people in this country are judged (e.g. “admitted”) solely by the content of their character and not by their skin pigmentation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *