The Merits of Affirmative Action

Harvard Affirmative Action, Affirmative Action, Harvard Diversity
Harvard has been accused of discriminating against Asian American applicants in admissions.

We came across a terrific editorial on the pages of The Harvard Crimson authored by the paper’s Editorial Board that we figured we’d share with our readers. The piece, entitled “What Admission to Harvard Really Means,” shines a light on Harvard’s leading role in ushering in an era of diversity on American college campuses but it also doesn’t shy away from pinpointing specific ways in which the Harvard of today falls short of its mission, notably in its admissions practices. As our readers know all too well, Harvard is currently the defendant in litigation in which it is accused of discriminating against Asian American applicants. And while any decision will likely be appealed, there is a very real chance that the legality of the practice of Affirmative Action itself could end up being debated by our nation’s highest court. So where does The Harvard Crimson Editorial Board stand on Affirmative Action?

Harvard Student Journalists Voice Support for Affirmative Action

As The Editorial Board for The Harvard Crimson writes, “In the face of recent challenges and skepticism, Harvard must reaffirm its educational mission and the importance of affirmative action in fulfilling that purpose. In pursuit of that vision, we reaffirm our support for affirmative action and its positive impacts it has for students on campus from all backgrounds. Affirmative action takes a step towards correcting the systematic inequalities and disadvantages present for marginalized groups in our society. Affirmative action acknowledges that, in some ways, our standardized test scores or high school grades are a measure of the resources we had access to in the past — not our potential for the future. Beyond these historic facts of systemic inequity, a diverse student body allows all who enter the gates of Harvard Yard to broaden their perspectives and engage in immersive learning experience that reflect our society today.”

We Too Support the Merits of Affirmative Action

We couldn’t agree more with the fighting words of Harvard’s student journalists. Affirmative Action is not to blame for the very real Asian American discrimination that takes place in highly selective college admissions any more than legacy admission or the admission of recruited athletes is to blame. Affirmative Action isn’t perfect — far from it. But it’s the best system we have to fostering learning environments that challenge young people to see the world differently, to see the vantage points of others, to come to an understanding that we don’t all see things the same way and the other side’s perspective may very well be valid, too.


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