Tags: harvard | unc | race | admissions | lawsuit

Harvard, UNC Sued for Using Race in Admissions Decisions

Monday, 17 November 2014 04:28 PM

A nonprofit legal defense group sued Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Monday, alleging the schools' admission practices discriminate against Asian-American and white applicants.

The Project on Fair Representation, which previously challenged the use of race by the University of Texas at Austin in undergraduate admissions, asked federal courts to block Harvard and UNC from considering race in such decisions.

"These two lawsuits are the first of what are expected to be several similar challenges to other competitive colleges that continue to unconstitutionally use racial preferences in admission decisions," said Edward Blum, director of the Project on Fair Representation.

The challenges were filed in Boston and Greensboro, North Carolina, on behalf of a new group called Students for Fair Admissions, which according to a statement includes "highly qualified students recently denied admission to both schools."

One lawsuit accuses Harvard of a "campaign of invidious discrimination" that holds Asian Americans to a higher standard than other students and gives racial preference to less qualified white, African-American and Hispanic applicants.

At UNC, "race is a dominant factor in admissions decisions to the detriment of white and Asian-American applicants," according to the other suit.

The Project on Fair Representation said a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the University of Texas case requires schools to first use race-neutral criteria to build a diverse student body before taking race into account.

Both schools defended their practices on Monday.

Harvard's general counsel, Robert Iuliano, said the school's admissions process meets all legal requirements. He cited a 1978 Supreme Court case in which the late Justice Lewis Powell held up Harvard's admissions procedures as exemplary.

"Then and now, the College considers each applicant through an individualized, holistic review having the goal of creating a vibrant academic community," he said in a statement.

UNC said the U.S. Department of Education in 2012 found the school's use of race in its admissions process consistent with federal law.

"The University continues to affirm the educational benefits diversity brings to students," said UNC spokesman Rick White.

© 2019 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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A nonprofit legal defense group sued Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Monday, alleging the schools' admission practices discriminate against Asian-American and white applicants.
harvard, unc, race, admissions, lawsuit
342
2014-28-17
Monday, 17 November 2014 04:28 PM
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