A big civil rights case is brewing that could lead to legal shockwaves across the nation.
A group that is suing Harvard University is demanding that it publicly release admissions data on hundreds of thousands of applicants, saying the records show a pattern of discrimination against Asian-Americans going back decades.
“This is an important and closely watched civil rights case,” William S. Consovoy, the lawyer for the group, Students for Fair Admissions, said in his letter to the court. “The public has a right to know exactly what is going on at Harvard. Even if this were a commercial issue — as Harvard would like to portray it — the public would have a right to know if the product is defective or if a fraud is being perpetrated.”
At stake in the dispute is the secrecy of the university admissions process, especially at elite institutions like Harvard that are competing for a small pool of highly qualified students, and whether and how race and ethnicity play a role.
Students for Fair Admissions includes more than a dozen Asian-American students who applied to Harvard and were rejected. They contend in their lawsuit that Harvard systematically and unconstitutionally discriminates against Asian-American applicants by penalizing their high achievement as a group, while giving preferences to other racial and ethnic minorities. They say that Harvard’s admission process amounts to an illegal quota system.
Info via The New York Times