The US Department of Justice wants Harvard University to face trial over its consideration of race in student admissions. The college is “engaging in outright racial balancing” by denying well-qualified Asian-Americans, the DOJ alleges.
“No American should be denied admission to school because of their race,” US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in the DOJ’s “statement of interest” submitted to the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts on Thursday. The move bolsters the case against Harvard, brought by Students for Fair Admissions in 2014.
Harvard is requesting the judge rule on the case without allowing a trial, but the US government insists that not happen, as Harvard, which receives millions of taxpayer dollars annually, has withheld documents showing how it factors race in admissions.
Harvard denies race-based discrimination, but defends what it calls its right to view race as a factor when considering prospective students. Supreme Court precedent allows for race to be considered in college admissions, but Harvard is accused of going too far.
Applicants to Harvard are rated under five categories, including academic, athletic, extracurricular, and personal, as well as overall. It’s the “personal” category that lacks objectivity, according to the plaintiffs. And it just so happens that Asian-Americans score lower on Harvard’s preferred personality traits, such as “courage,” “helpfulness,” “integrity,” and “likability,” or being a “good person” with “human qualities.” Harvard acknowledges this discrepancy, the DOJ noted.
But Harvard yawns at these points, saying the DOJ is “recycling the same misleading and hollow arguments that prove nothing more than the emptiness of the case against Harvard.”
“Colleges and universities must have the freedom and flexibility to create the diverse communities that are vital to the learning experience of every student,” the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based university said, according to the Associated Press.
In June, Students for Fair Admissions released a report by Harvard’s internal research division showing that 43 percent of admitted students would be Asian if the only consideration was academic performance, according to The Atlantic.
This year, Asian-American students make up 22.7 percent of Harvard’s approved admissions, which is a record high. However, that is still lower than the 26 percent that Harvard’s internal research division projected for the Asian population, after other factors like preferences for legacy and athlete students or extracurricular and personal traits were added into their calculations. In recent years, Asian-Americans have made up around 19 percent.
How exactly does Harvard factor race into its admissions? Edward Blum, president of Students for Fair Admissions, wants transparency.
“We look forward to having the gravely troubling evidence that Harvard continues to keep redacted disclosed to the American public in the near future,” he said, AP reported.
Both sides of this case cite outside economists, and each side accuses the other of racism to some degree. The judge may or may not send the case to trial, but he most certainly will not tell everyone to go home, to quit virtue signaling, to stop policing others’ thoughts and biases, and to simply mind their own business.