DIVERSE HARVARD AND ALLIES
ENTER THE ADMISSIONS LAWSUIT
As the summer heats up, so does the admissions lawsuit brought by anti-civil rights activist Edward Blum against Harvard. We are delighted to announce that an amicus brief will be filed on our behalf in the lawsuit tomorrow.
Amicus Motion and Brief
After carefully considering evidence presented by both parties in the lawsuit, the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard steering committee decided to ask the court to grant us amicus (friend of the court) status so that we can convey our support of Harvard’s whole-person admissions practices that consider race as one factor throughout the lawsuit. See our analysis, "Lawsuit Update: A Look Behind the Hype," here. We have retained the esteemed NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) to represent us pro bono, and we are proud to be joined on the amicus brief by by First Generation Harvard Alumni, Native American Alumni of Harvard University and many other student and alumni organizations representing Harvard students from diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
As you know, LDF has worked to dismantle racial segregation in public education and ensure equal educational opportunity for all students for seven decades, including working alongside Asian American groups who were impacted by the separate but equal doctrine and continue to experience discrimination today.
We will share the amicus motion and brief and the full list of our co-amici organizations with you once the brief is filed.
Cross Summary Judgment Motions
On Friday, July 27, Harvard filed a legal brief slamming claims made by Blum in SFFA v. Harvard. Calling SFFA’s arguments “not remotely plausible,” Harvard states that each SFFA argument “rests on allegations that have been conclusively refuted or, at a minimum, directly contested by documentary, testimonial, and expert evidence.”
Specifically, Harvard asserts:
The evidence fails to show Harvard intentionally discriminates against Asian-American applicants.
The evidence presented by SFFA fails to show that Harvard engages in racial balancing.
The evidence fails to show that Harvard considers race in anything but the manner permitted by law and the Supreme Court.
The evidence fails to show that Harvard could achieve its educational objectives without considering race.
Press coverage of Friday’s legal filing can be found here:
Harvard Says Ignoring Race in Admissions Would Hurt School’s Diversity, Academic Excellence | Wall Street Journal
Harvard denies discriminating against Asian-Americans | Boston Globe
‘Not remotely plausible’: Harvard disputes claims of admissions bias | Washington Post
Asian American Admissions Data
In our June email, A Fight for Diversity at Harvard, we shared with you admissions data that we compiled from the Harvard Crimson and Gazette. The graph below was prepared by the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard based on data recently produced by Harvard in the lawsuit.
The newly released data show:
While Edward Blum has publicly stated that Asians make up more than half of Harvard’s applicant pool, the data show that Asian Americans have never made up more than 22.8% of the applicant pool up through the class of 2018.
Anti-affirmative action activists have long asserted that the leveling off of the percentage of the College that is Asian American was clear evidence of a quota. The data show that the Asian American applicant pool itself, as a percentage of the overall applicant pool, began leveling off with the Class of 1995 and remained essentially flat through the Class of 2018 (the last class for which data was released).
Asian Americans in this period consistently enrolled at a higher rate than the overall pool of admitted students (i.e. higher "yield"); thus the matriculant/enrollee line is higher than the admit line.
The percentage of U.S. enrolled undergraduates that is Asian Pacific Islander was approximately 6.6% at the time the Class of 2018 was admitted. The percentage of Harvard's enrolled Class of 2018 that was Asian American was 21.2%.
When reading misleading comparisons to UC Berkeley, remember that 31% of US Asians live in California alone, where they are 16% of the overall California population. 31.31% of UC Berkeley applicants to the Class of 2018 were Asian American, versus 22.8% at Harvard. For the Class of 2012, the difference was even more extreme: 34.46% of applicants were Asian American at UC Berkeley versus 19.6% at Harvard.
Correction: A previous version of the graph above indicated that its bottom line showed the Asian American percentage of US population. The line actually showed the Asian American percentage of students enrolled in degree-granting post-secondary institutions. We apologize for the error. The graph now shows the Asian American percentage of enrolled undergrads. We've chosen to show this because the undergrad demographics are most directly relevant.
Gratitude and a Diverse Harvard Milestone
Thanks to those of you who have written op-eds and spoken out on social media and in the press. We encourage letters to the editor and comments posted to stories in the press. Write to us if you would like support.
Lastly, some big internal news: The Coalition for a Diverse Harvard is now officially incorporated as Coalition for a Diverse Harvard, Inc.! Who could have predicted back in 2016 that our scrappy volunteer effort would grow to nearly 1,100 members and continue to shape the Harvard alumni community’s conversations about diversity, inclusion and equity? And our work is being noted by schools and organizations across the country. Cheers to all of you who have stood with us!
Jane, Margaret, Jeannie, Kristin, and Michael
Jane Sujen Bock '81, Margaret M. Chin '84, Jeannie Park '83, Kristin R. Penner '89, & Michael Williams '81
Steering Committee of the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard
ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE:
Please share this page with your friends and ask them to join the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard (diverseharvard.org) to receive updates on the lawsuit and ideas for how they can support inclusive admissions.
And join our “Coalition for a Diverse Harvard” Facebook Group.
Join Asian Americans Advancing Justice’s Twitter Town Hall this Wed 8/1, noon-1pm PT. Add your voice using #AsianAmericans #NotYourCover #MoreThanANumber !
RECENT NEWS AND POSTS:
Bias against Asian-American students is real. Affirmative action isn’t the problem. | Vox
Lawsuit Against Harvard Goes After Diversity Model | WGBH
How Elite Schools Stay So White | NY Times
Trump Administration To Undo Efforts To Boost College Racial Diversity | Huffington Post
As Trump takes aim at affirmative action, let’s remember how Jared Kushner got into Harvard | Vox
Let’s not kid ourselves. Harvard lawsuit is about affirmative action, not Asian Americans | Boston Globe
Students for Fair Admissions and Harvard Both Got It Wrong | Harvard Crimson
I’m an activist for Asian Americans. I support affirmative action. | Washington Post
From Asian Americans Advancing Justice LA: