Trump Administration and The Department of Justice backed the Asian-American students who sued Harvard University for racial discrimination in the admissions process.
The legality of the practices were questioned, “The prestigious US institution follows to facilitate the access of other minorities, considering that they create a disadvantage and reinforce stereotypes.”
This claim has its origin in a lawsuit filed in 2014 in federal court in Boston by a non-profit organization composed of Asian students who were denied admission by Harvard to favor black and Latino students. The Department of Justice focuses especially on an element of the process that the university follows when valuing the students who knock at its door, the “personal rating”. Consider that this scale is subjective and reinforces the racial stereotype that exits towards the character of the Asians.
As a result, these would be damaged their chances to access their study programs even having a higher academic qualification. The Government considers in this regard that the evidence presented by the plaintiffs has shown that the positive discrimination procedures of the center are “illegal”.
“Harvard has the responsibility to manage their admissions without racial discrimination using criteria that meet legal requirements,” Jeff Sessions office said.
The legal battle, which adds to other past, is being followed throughout the US because it may have implications in the way other highly selective universities admit their students. The Students for Fair Admissions already presented an analysis in this sense, in which it revealed that the Harvard methodology gave them a higher grade than any other race in the academic aspect but the lowest in the personality. The University argues, for its part, that the admission process also includes other aspects, such as socioeconomic status or athletic qualification.
The Department of Justice believes that the method is “vague and deceptive”, while considering that it is challenging Supreme Court decisions that require the race to be used in the selection process in a very tight manner to achieve diversity.
The trial in Boston is scheduled to start in October. A total of 16 universities support the position of Harvard, because they consider that to prohibit the race is an “extraordinary intrusion“. In the group of American universities that support Harvard are the other seven educational institutions that make up the Ivy League as well as Duke, Emory, George Washington, John Hopkins and Stanford.
They argue that the decisions they adopt in the selection process are protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution because it is “essentially an educational assessment.” “Educational institutions have the required experience and the right to adopt academic decisions on the criteria to admit their students and in particular, what type, quality or degree of diversity is best for the educational experience of students and what allows them flourish “, they explain in their opinion presented a month ago.
Harvard lawyers asked the federal court to rule on their behalf without going to trial. But the Government considers that the process must go ahead, so that the accusations can be judged. They consider that the university has been applying these practices for 45 years without contemplating an alternative. “They are proud of how they do it for diversity and it is happening in many other places,” officials warn.
The policies that advocate positive discrimination in the US began to be adopted following an executive order signed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.