By Ann Wang
The legal defense group Project on Fair Representation, led by Edward Blum, is suing Harvard University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for “employing racially and ethnically discriminatory policies.”
The Harvard lawsuit alleges that the university is discriminating by limiting the number of Asian Americans admitted each year and engaging in racial balancing. The complaint highlights data and analysis “that strongly suggests that white, African American, and Hispanic applicants are given racial preferences over better qualified Asian-Americans applying for admission to Harvard.” A quote from the group’s Students for Fair Admissions website states, “Additionally, the complaint demonstrates that Harvard is not in compliance with the new ‘strict scrutiny’ standards articulated in 2013 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. The Fisher opinion unambiguously requires schools to implement race-neutral means to achieve student body diversity before turning to racial classifications and preferences.”
Likewise, the UNC-Chapel Hill lawsuit claims that the University does not follow the Fisher strict scrutiny requirements.
While UNC spokesman Rick White said their school “stands by its current admissions policy and process,” Harvard’s General Counsel Robert Luliano said that the university’s admissions policies “remain fully compliant with all legal requirements.”
Mr. Blum noted that UNC had admitted to finding that racial balancing practices do not necessarily maximize racial minority diversity in a previous study. “The unique thing about UNC is that they did a study in which they concluded that if they dropped race-based affirmative action and instead implemented a top-ten-percent plan like Texas, the number of minorities on their campus would go up, not down,” he said. “So, for them to continue using race-based preferences is not fair. It’s actually limiting the number of minorities that can attend that school, and we believe the court will find that it’s unconstitutional.”
In addition, the Students for Fair Admissions website states, “The discrimination against Asian-Americans at Harvard and both schools’ blatant failure to comply with recent Supreme Court directives with regard to race preferences are emblematic of the behavior of the vast majority of competitive colleges throughout the country. Because of this, Students for Fair Admissions asserts in its complaints that racial classifications and preferences in college admissions are inadministrable; a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and federal civil rights laws; and must be ended as a matter of policy and law.”
Officials at the Project on Fair Representation say that they are looking for students at other schools to come forward to provide evidence for future suits, with the ultimate goal of removing all race-based admission policies of schools.