Trial opens on claim Harvard discriminates against Asian-Americans

Harvard University

Harvard University

"For many years Asian Americans have been under the impression that Harvard and other elite universities treat them differently than they do white, African American and Hispanic applicants".

A trial will open here in federal court Monday to weigh accusations that Harvard University's famously competitive undergraduate admissions system is rigged against Asian Americans, a case that could become another landmark in the nation's long debate over affirmative action.

Harvard was expected to deliver its own opening statement later on Monday.

Yu traveled to Boston to take part in a rally with other supporters of the plaintiffs, and to witness the trial taking place in federal district court.

"When you eliminate race as a consideration, it is white people that benefit, not Asian-Americans", said Nicole Ochi, an attorney with Asian Americans Advancing Justice in Los Angeles.

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.

Pham writes that though she is "tempted to join the angry throngs of my fellow peers" regarding Harvard's reportedly racist anti-Asian admissions policies, she believes that Asian students should "withdraw our collective support" from the pushback against affirmative action.

"The important question is in light of these interrogations - ongoing in the case of Yale, or more threatened in the case of others - whether universities and colleges will feel obliged to not only look anew at their policies", he said, "but whether they'll change them to try to avoid the scrutiny that comes from a skeptical administration". It was simply a numeral rating ranging from one, for "outstanding", to five, for "questionable personal traits".

That group of plaintiffs is organized under the umbrella of Students for Fair Admissions (SFA), an organization led by conservative political activist Edward Blum.

In August, the U.S. Justice Department threw its support behind the lawsuit, saying Harvard's admissions process "may be infected with racial bias".

The Supreme Court upheld their law school's affirmative action policies, but ruled that the school's undergraduate admissions officers couldn't use racial bonuses, like 20 points for blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans on an admissions rating scale, NPR's Nina Totenberg reported in 2003.

Earlier this month, Burroughs granted Harvard students and alumni permission to testify and make their case for racial and ethnic diversity.

The U.S. Justice Department, which launched a related probe of Harvard after Republican President Donald Trump's election, has backed SFFA's case, saying that Harvard has not seriously considered alternative, race-neutral approaches to admissions. "Harvard never considers an applicant's race to be a negative", Lee said.

Harvard denies any discrimination and says it considers race as one of many factors when considering applicants.

The trial in a U.S. federal court in Boston pits the Ivy League school against Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), whose 2014 lawsuit challenges the use of race as a factor in college admissions decisions.

William R. Fitzsimmons, Harvard's dean of admissions since 1986, was the first witness. But in a heated moment, John Hughes, the lawyer questioning him, described it differently.

The Harvard trial is expected to last about three weeks.

Class plays a role in this divide, said OiYan Poon, a professor of higher education at Colorado State University, who once worked in admissions for University of California, Davis.

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

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