Harvard’s admissions policies to be tested in court

Atour group walks through the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge Mass. Word of an August 2017 Justice Department inquiry into how race factors into admissions at Harvard University has left top-tier colleges bracing for scrutiny of practices that

Harvard affirmative action case goes to trial Monday

"And race is never the reason a student is denied".

Despite the outcome of the trial, both sides are expected to appeal the decision. If college admissions were based on merit alone, black students would have a disproportionately mammoth task ahead of them: not only ensuring that they meet Harvard's standards, but overcoming unfair resource distribution to do so.

In court Monday Mortara, a former clerk for US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, insisted that affirmative action itself would not be on trial and that Students for Fair Admissions supports campus diversity.

The case has the potential to move to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could officially call into question whether race should be a deciding factor in the school admission process.

Harvard University went on trial on Monday over its admission selection process that critics say discriminates against students of Asian origin.

Harvard evaluated applicants on the extent to which they possessed the following traits: likability, helpfulness, courage, kindness, positive personality, people like to be around them, the person is widely respected. He says, in the past, opponents of considering race in admissions have gone after top publicinstitutions. "This white conservative activist is spearheading the lawsuit against Harvard - a fact that on its own should generate skepticism towards its merits, especially in an audience of color like ours", Pham adds.

Mortara said while Asian-Americans outperformed other groups on academic measures, they received low scores on the "personal" rating that measures an applicant's subjective likability and grit, a fact he said Harvard can not prove was not due to racial bias.

CARAPEZZA: Harvard says there's been no discrimination against Asian-American applicants.

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 favour of an applicant, getting no more weight than a student's geography or family income.

"Harvard can not achieve its educational goals without considering race", Lee added, emphasizing the value of diversity to the educational experience. And yet, he said, there is only one Asian student on campus for every two whites. Considering race as a factor in the holistic review of applicants, the brief said, is "necessary to achieve the benefits of diversity" in its backing of Harvard's practices.

Analysts expect the ultra-sensitive case to once again come before the Supreme Court, where a conservative majority has recently been solidified with the addition of Trump nominee Brett Kavanaugh. In the 2016 case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, Kennedy wrote the argument rejecting arguments on behalf of Abigail Fisher, who also was recruited by Blum, and endorsing the racial affirmative action meant to diversity the campus of the flagship school based in Austin.

Dueling rallies were held in Boston and Cambridge focused on a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination at Harvard University.

Lee said Students for Fair Admissions had misconstrued data, and that race was used only to a student's advantage in certain circumstances, and never to his or her disadvantage.

The group's case partly relies on an analysis of Harvard admissions records by Duke University economist Peter Arcidiacono, who found that Asian-Americans bring the strongest academic records but are admitted at the lowest rate.

"We've been very careful to make sure that any legal scrutiny brought against us will be something that we can hold our heads up and say we're entirely consistent with the law, so am I anxious about the resolution of those cases?"

Asian-Americans, who represent about 6 per cent of the United States population, comprise 23 per cent of Harvard's current freshman class.

Latest News