I wrote here about the class action lawsuit that accuses Harvard of discriminating against Asian-Americans. The court has denied Harvard’s motions to dismiss, and the case is moving forward, which caused the university to defend its admissions practices in an email to its alumni.
In denying discrimination, Harvard says it relies on a “whole-person admissions process.” That is, Harvard “considers the whole person, not just an applicant’s grades and test scores.” That’s fine as far as it goes, but if one ethnic group consistently needs higher grades and test scores to be admitted, that necessarily means it is being rated lower on other aspects of being a “whole person.” That reality is now coming out, as the New York Times reports:
Harvard consistently rated Asian-American applicants lower than any other race on personal traits like “positive personality,” likability, courage, kindness and being “widely respected,” according to an analysis of more than 160,000 student records filed Friday in federal court in Boston by a group representing Asian-American students in a lawsuit against the university.
Asian-Americans scored higher than applicants of any other racial or ethnic group on admissions measures like test scores, grades and extracurricular activities, according to the analysis commissioned by a group that opposes all race-based admissions criteria. But the students’ personal ratings significantly dragged down their chances of being admitted, the analysis found.
This finding, as noted above, was inevitable.
“It turns out that the suspicions of Asian-American alumni, students and applicants were right all along,” the group, Students for Fair Admissions, said in a court document laying out the analysis. “Harvard today engages in the same kind of discrimination and stereotyping that it used to justify quotas on Jewish applicants in the 1920s and 1930s.”
That analogy obviously seems apt.
The details of Harvard’s closely guarded admissions process were unsealed Friday after the university fought furiously over the last few months to keep them secret.
Presumably the university knew this was coming; hence its public relations offensive. But racial discrimination is hard to sugar-coat.