Harvard on trial over alleged discrimination against Asians
NEW YORK, United States – Harvard University went on trial Monday over an opaque admissions selection process that critics say discriminates against Asian students.
A lawsuit has challenged the use of race as a factor in Harvard admissions — a decades-old push to boost minority enrollments at America’s oldest and perhaps most prestigious university.
Federal Judge Allison Dale Burroughs heard opening arguments in the non-jury civil trial in Boston expected to last three weeks.
Harvard denies discriminating against Asians but defends its use of broader selection criteria than academic excellence, such as personality, to form a diverse student body.
The university also notes that the proportion of students of Asian origin has increased substantially since 2010, and today account for 23 percent of the 2,000 students admitted to the freshman class out of 40,000 applicants.
There are around 15 percent blacks and 12 percent Hispanics.
Pitted against the revered academic institution is Students for Fair Admissions, a group led by conservative white activist Edward Blum, who previously attacked the affirmative action policies at the University of Texas.
The US Supreme Court ruled against him in 2016, upholding the university’s admissions policy.
In opening arguments, the group’s lawyer Adam Mortara claimed that Harvard had used personality criteria to suppress Asian admissions in favor of black, Hispanic and white applicants.
Harvard “let the wolf of racial bias in through the front door,” The Boston Globe quoted him as saying.
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