Tuesday, 26 October, 2021


Harvard Cleared Of Racial Bias By Appeals Court

Harvard University wins appeals fight over race in college admissions Appeals court upholds ruling that Harvard admissions does not discriminate against Asian Americans
Bennie Garza | 14 November, 2020, 18:55

"It concluded that if Harvard does not provide its students with the opportunity to engage with other students in a diverse undergraduate environment, '(its) students likely would be constrained in their pursuit of excellence, and (Harvard) would be remiss in failing to provide them with the skills they need to flourish after graduation'".

The U.S. Circuit Court for the First Circuit in MA ruled in a 2-0 decision Thursday in SFFA v. Harvard that Harvard University's race-conscious admissions policy must be upheld.

The appeals court ruled that Harvard's use of race in its current admissions process meets this criterion in its ruling writing, "Enabling students to understand, relate to, and learn from people of different backgrounds is one of the main goals of Harvard's race-conscious admissions program". That doesn't mean that Harvard doesn't discriminate and favor some races over others.

An Appeals Court panel upheld Harvard University's controversial affirmative action policy this week. Blum has long opposed racial policies that have benefited both whites and Hispanics.

The federal judge who upheld the admissions program previous year, U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs of the District of MA, said it "is not flawless", but it serves "a compelling, permissible and substantial interest" that is narrowly tailored to achieve diversity.

Edward Blum, president of Students for Fair Admissions, vowed Thursday to take the case to the Supreme Court.

Harvard University won the latest round in an ongoing 2014 anti-affirmative action lawsuit against the school's use of race in admissions. It took on new relevance this summer as the country focused on systemic racism, ignited by the May 25 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The 2-0 decision upheld an October 2019 ruling by US District Judge Allison Burroughs in Boston. It also claims the Ivy League institution gives special consideration to black and Latinx applicants, putting Asian-American applicants at a distinct disadvantage. During the trial, SFFA contended Asian Americans were typecast as one-dimensional or merely "book smart".

The judges agreed with a district court finding that Harvard's personal rating is not influenced by race.

After a three-week trial that cast new light on Harvard's secretive selection process, a federal judge ruled that other factors could explain why Asian Americans are admitted at lower rates than other students.

Lynch's opinion was signed by Chief Judge Jeffrey Howard.

The two-judge panel noted that for each class of 1,600 freshman, the school receives about 35,000 applications and can't admit all who would succeed academically.

Against the SFFA's claim that Harvard instituted "racial sanctions" against Asian Americans, Harvard's lawyers argued that Asian Americans actually had jurisdiction under its system. "The ruling today allows Asian American students who struggle against dehumanizing stereotypes or have to overcome other struggles to attain higher education". The remaining category, 47.7%, is overwhelmingly White students.

Seth Waxman, who challenged Harvard's case in the Court of Appeals, said in a statement that "the importance of diversity in higher education can not be overemphasized". The appeals court found no error in her analysis.

'This lawsuit is now on track to go up to the US Supreme Court where we will ask the justices to end these unfair and unconstitutional race-based admissions policies at Harvard and all colleges and universities, ' Blum said. They also opined that the school's use of affirmative action is "consistent with the requirements of Supreme Court precedent".

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