Harvard discriminates against Asian-Americans, lawyer says at trial

Harvard discriminates against Asian-Americans, lawyer says at trial

A diversity rally near the Harvard University campus.

The case, brought by Students for Fair Admissions, claims that Harvard's admissions process discriminates against Asian-American applicants and limits how many are admitted each year. That rating, he said, is often crucial to the outcome.

Harvard disputes the claim and says race is only one small factor in their secretive student selections process. He also contended that Harvard knew of the problem since "red warning flags" were raised internally in 2013 but the university did nothing about it.

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.

Lee walked through what he described as a painstaking review process in which race is one of many factors.

"Race alone is never the reason a student is granted admission", Lee said. William Lee, a lawyer for the school and a member of its governing board, said race is just one of many factors that can work in favor of an applicant, getting no more weight than a student's geography or family income. There will be no jury.

Activist groups have lined up behind both sides of the legal battle. Eventually, the case could reach the Supreme Court.

The Harvard trial is expected to last about three weeks.

The case is expected to shed light on admissions practices at universities. This time Asian Americans are at the center of the fight.

While Asians didn't fare as badly immediately after the proposition took effect, Poon calculated from UC data that Asian and Pacific Islander student admissions to most system schools in the decade that followed its passage declined in comparison to overall student admissions.

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"We're looking for people who are genuinely curious".

But most applicants don't quite know what that means.

Advocates opposed to the lawsuit say an end to race-conscious admissions would ultimately harm Asian-American students, among them lower-income Chinese, Southeast Asians and others.

Some could be unflattering. This couldn't be further from the truth - a study of the 2011-2012 school year found that while 81 percent of Asian-American students had access to college-preparatory math and science courses, only 57 percent of black students enjoyed the same privileges.

Some unexpected revelations could also come out of the trial, such as how the university considers the children of alumni or donors, or the applications of other pupils who are not admitted through the typical process.

Asian-Americans, who represent about 6 percent of the US population, make up 23 percent of Harvard's current freshman class. Some alleged victims gave pretrial depositions under oath, but their identities remain anonymous.

At issue is whether the school unfairly discriminates against Asian-American applicants, whom the lawsuit says would have a better chance of acceptance - all other things being equal - were they white, black, or Hispanic.

At a time when Donald Trump and millions of his minions have torn open the scab of America's fraught racial divisions, it's painful to say that Harvard should lose, at least in part, the affirmative action lawsuit against it that opens Monday.

Bill Lee, the university´s lawyer, argued however that "Harvard can not achieve its educational goals without considering race".

The group's suit demands that Harvard make admissions decisions without any knowledge of students' race, and it asks for a broader ruling that the use of race in education is a civil rights violation.

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