Published: Sat, June 16, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Asian Americans Would Benefit From 'Academics-Only' Admission, Finds Harvard Study

Asian Americans Would Benefit From 'Academics-Only' Admission, Finds Harvard Study

Harvard countered with a statement calling the group's analysis "incomplete and misleading", saying it paints a "dangerously inaccurate picture" of the school's admissions process.

Harvard consistently rated Asian-American applicants lower than others on traits like "positive personality", likability, courage, kindness and being "widely respected", according to an analysis of more than 160,000 student records filed Friday by a group representing Asian-American students in a lawsuit against the university.

An internal Harvard University review from five years ago suggested Asian American applicants would be let into the undergraduate college in much greater numbers if academic performance were the only criterion for admission, according to court documents made public Friday.

"Incontrovertible evidence shows that Harvard's admissions policy has a disproportionately negative effect on Asian Americans vis-a-vis similarly situated white applicants that can not be explained on non-discriminatory grounds", the group said in its brief.

Attorneys for Harvard called the internal review "incomplete, preliminary and based on limited inputs".

It also said, "Harvard neither gave serious, good faith consideration to nor took advantage of workable race-neutral alternatives".

The email from university President Drew Gilpin Faust to students, staff and alumni sought to prepare the Harvard community for publicity likely to emerge in a case with implications for the long-running debate over the use of race and ethnicity as factors in college admissions.

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"It turns out that the suspicions of Asian-American alumni, students and applicants were right all along", Students for Fair Admissions said in a court document.

Lawyers for the students claimed leaders of Harvard's admission team were evasive during depositions and appeared to suffer memory problems. The Supreme Court ruled that race could be used as one of many factors in admissions.

Edward Blum, a legal strategist who founded the group, issued a statement saying his group's filing "exposes the startling magnitude of Harvard's discrimination".

But the number of Asian-American students in Harvard's admitted class is only at 23 percent; which the school boasts is a 29 percent increase over the last decade. Officials say its undergraduate college draws thousands of applicants a year with flawless grades and test scores, making it essential to consider other factors in tandem with academics.

An organization called Students for Fair Admissions sued in late 2014, alleging that Harvard's race-conscious admissions practices illegally discriminate against Asian Americans by limiting their entry into the school in favor of other groups. "In addition to that, Harvard has a racial balancing policy that balances the percentages of African-Americans, Hispanics, Whites and Asians". Conservatives have said such programs can hurt white people and Asian Americans.

A trial is scheduled for October. Separately, the Justice Department is investigating Harvard's use of race in admissions.

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