‘Admissions process may be imperfect [but is] not the result of any racial animus or conscious prejudice…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Harvard University can continue an admissions policy that adversely affects Asian Americans, essentially allow the school to discriminate against its Asian applicants.
While more liberal benches have, in the past, upheld schools’ right to factor in race, the court also struck down their ability to use quotas and points systems in doing so. Prior cases have all involved white applicants who claimed discrimination.
“The use of race benefits certain racial and ethnic groups that would otherwise be underrepresented at Harvard and is therefore neither an illegitimate use of race or reflective of racial prejudice,” U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs wrote in her opinion, according to The Washington Post.
Although Harvard’s “admissions process may be imperfect,” favoring certain ethnicities over another is “not the result of any racial animus or conscious prejudice,” she argued.
One way Harvard can make sure it isn’t racially discriminating against applicants is by instituting implicit bias training, the judge added.
Regardless, it’s unnecessary to “dismantle a very fine admissions program that passes constitutional muster, solely because it could do better,” she wrote.
The ruling is the result of a lawsuit brought against the university by Students for Fair Admissions, who claimed the school had rejected several Asian applicants despite their perfect academics.
“Students for Fair Admissions is disappointed that the court has upheld Harvard’s discriminatory admissions policies,” the group’s president, Edward Blum, said in a statement.
“We believe that the documents, emails, data analysis and depositions SFFA presented at trial compellingly revealed Harvard’s systematic discrimination against Asian–American applicants,” he said.
In it suit, the group alleged the university reviewed applications with a race-conscious bias, limiting the number of students it accepts from certain ethnicities.
Harvard has continued to deny the allegation.
“I want all of you to know that each Harvard College student is admitted affirmatively,” university President Lawrence Bacow said in a statement last year.
“Each student brings something special to our community and contributes to our rich learning environment in a way that is unique,” Bacow said. “Harvard would be a dull place—and not likely achieve the educational aspirations we have for our students—if we shared the same backgrounds, interests, experiences and expectations for ourselves.”