Harvard loses discrimination suit

Department of Justice sides with Students for Fair Admissions, cites Title VI

Photo courtesy of The World University Rankings | The Department of Justice (DOJ) sided in favor of Students for Fair Admissions in their suit against Harvard University. The DOJ found that the prestigious university was in violation Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Justice Department sided with the Students for Fair Admissions in their lawsuit accusing Harvard University of systematic discrimination in their college admissions process on Aug. 30.

In 2014, Students for Fair Admission filed the suit that claimed Harvard’s admission methods infringed on the Title VI of Civil Rights Act of 1964. The suit accused Harvard of deliberately discriminating against applicants based on race, specifically Asian-Americans.

Four years after the suit was filed, pressure continued to rise as Harvard faced more strain from the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The DOJ concluded its investigation by stating “Harvard has failed to demonstrate that its use of race narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest.”

The DOJ have also stated that there is evidence that shows that “admissions officers and committees consistently monitor and manipulate the racial makeup of incoming classes.”
Harvard also failed to comply to find “race-neutral ways to compile a diverse student body.”

On its website Harvard denounced all accusations, stating that the lawsuit is “politically motivated” by Edward Blum, the founder of the organization Students for Fair Admissions.

The university also said it is “committed to expanding opportunity,” its admission policies do not discriminate against any one group and it will continue to defend the rights of Harvard College.”

In 2006, students at Princeton University filed a complaint about the same practices. The admission rate for Asian students increased 10.7 percent from 2007-2014.

Though the DOJ sided with the Students for Fair Admissions, groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Asian American Legal Defense and Educational Fund both supported Harvard.

In addition, although the Students for Fair admissions brought in an expert to do research about the racial biases highlighted in the suit claim, 531 social scientists and various scholars studying college access, Asian American studies and race sided with Harvard, claiming the expert study was invalid.

The Trump administration on July 2 discouraged the use of race not only in college admissions but also in public school enrollment.

The announcement was a reversal of former President Barack Obama’s federal guidelines on affirmative action that promoted using race in an effort to make colleges and universities more diverse.

The Trump administration said these guidelines “overstepped (their) authority by going beyond what the Supreme Court has said in affirmative-action cases.”

By: Jabari Turner | Guest Writer