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Harvard on trial over alleged discrimination against Asian students

Harvard on trial over alleged discrimination against Asian students

Students for Fair Admissions, the plaintiff in the case, is arguing that there's no explanation for the racial makeup of Harvard's first-year classes, except for racial balancing, which the Supreme Court has said is unlawful.

Both sides clashed Monday at the opening of a trial at Boston's federal courthouse.

Harvard University intentionally uses a vague "personal rating" to reject Asian-American applicants in favor of students from other racial backgrounds, according to lawyers on one side of a trial that began Monday and carries weighty implications for dozens of other US colleges.

Harvard also notes that the Supreme Court has previously held that colleges have an interest in enrolling diverse groups of students and may consider race as one factor among many when reviewing applications.

Asian-Americans, who represent about 6 percent of the USA population, comprise 23 percent of Harvard's current freshman class.

As the Harvard trial begins, here's what you need to know about affirmative action's history and how it's used today in elite college admissions.

Whatever the outcome, analysts expect this ultra-sensitive case to wind up before the Supreme Court, where a conservative majority has been solidified with the addition of Trump nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The department also launched a similar investigation last month into whether Yale University also discriminates against Asian Americans, an allegation it denies.

U.S. District Court Judge Allison Burroughs, who was nominated by then Democratic President Barack Obama and seated in 2015, will preside over the upcoming trial, which is expected to last two to three weeks.

Mr. Arcidiacono found that an otherwise identical applicant bearing an Asian-American male identity with a 25 percent chance of admission would have a 32 percent chance of admission if he were white, a 77 percent chance of admission if he were Hispanic, and a 95 percent chance of admission if he were black.

Another US Indictment Links Bitcoin to Covert Russian Intelligence Activity
The United States said Moscow must be made to pay the price for its actions. Reuters was not immediately able to contact them. They were expelled to Russian Federation .


That group of plaintiffs is organized under the umbrella of Students for Fair Admissions (SFA), an organization led by conservative political activist Edward Blum.

Asian Americans "do shockingly. poorly", Mortara said, compared to African Americans.

Supporters attend the "Rally for the American Dream - Equal Education Rights for All", ahead of the start of the trial in a lawsuit accusing Harvard University of discriminating against Asian-American applicants, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., October 14, 2018.

In several previous major cases, white applicants sued to challenge affirmative action in admissions.

Harvard has denied the accusations and called the lawsuit "politically motivated". One brief, filed by sixteen élite universities, including the rest of the schools in the Ivy League, states that if they were "required to adopt race-neutral admissions policies" they "would no longer be able to effectively pursue the attainment of the type of diversity that advances their educational missions".

Ultimately Harvard believes its campus diversity is at stake and says it couldn't achieve a rich mix of students without considering race.

"That's race discrimination, plain and simple", Hughes said.

"We condemn the Department of Education's politically motivated attack on affirmative action and deliberate attempt to discourage colleges and universities from pursuing racial diversity at our nation's colleges and universities", Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said in a statement at the time. Those ratings, which he said reflect assessments in such traits as likability, sensitivity and grit, are weighed along with ratings in other categories such as academics and extracurricular activities.

Harvard says they use a "holistic" strategy to evaluate students, and that race is only one minor consideration.


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