A group calling itself Students for Fair Admissions has filed federal civil rights lawsuits against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The suits claim that both institutions have practiced racial discrimination in their undergraduate admissions policies and procedures.
The suit against Harvard is particularly noteworthy as it involves a private institution. In the past, most attempts to challenge affirmative action admissions plans have targeted state-operated institutions of higher education. The Harvard suit states: “Each year, Harvard admits and enrolls essentially the same percentage of African Americans, Hispanics, whites, and Asian Americans even though the application rates and qualifications for each racial group have undergone significant changes over time. Harvard’s remarkably stable admissions and enrollment figures over time are the deliberate result of systemwide intentional racial discrimination designed to achieve a predetermined racial balance of its student body.”
The suit presents evidence that claims to show that Harvard discriminates against Asian American applicants by holding them to higher standards.
In the suit against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the plaintiffs present evidence which shows that the average score on the SAT college entrance examination for Asian American students admitted to the university is more than 200 points above the average SAT score of admitted African American students. The plaintiffs conclude that “UNC-Chapel Hill is not using race merely as a ‘plus’ factor in admissions decisions. UNC-Chapel Hill’s admissions decisions are attributable to a sizable racial preference for underrepresented minorities.” The plaintiffs claim that the university’s admission preference are not “narrowly tailored” as required by the 2003 Supreme Court ruling in Grutter.
The complaint against Harvard can be downloaded by clicking here.
The complaint against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can be downloaded by clicking here.