At least 64 Asian-American associations recently complained to the Justice Department about race-based admission policies at American universities. Now, the fed is taking action.
The Justice Department has formally launched an investigation against Harvard University on whether they have discriminatory admission policies for new students.
In a report on the Washington Examiner on October 4, the investigation was confirmed by the feds in a letter to American Oversight, a watchdog group, that used a Freedom of Information Act request into the DOJ’s affirmative action investigations.
The group teamed up with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law seeking information on investigations into practices at both Harvard University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Justice Department’s records confirmed that an investigation on Harvard was active.
In the letter, the Justice Department explained that it wouldn’t be able to reveal the full records, as they contain “information compiled for law enforcement purposes,” which “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings” if released.
The confirmation follows an August report in the New York Times outlining the Trump administration’s intent to probe schools’ admissions policies around the country. In the article, the Justice Department claimed it was investigating such practices in response to a May 2015 complaint filed by 64 Asian-American associations.
“Many Asian-American students who have almost perfect SAT scores, top 1 percent GPAs, plus significant awards or leadership positions in various extracurricular activities have been rejected by Harvard University and other Ivy League Colleges while similarly situated applicants of other races have been admitted,” the 50-page complaint read.
“Over the last two decades, Asian-American applicants to Harvard University and other Ivy League colleges have increasingly experienced discrimination in the admissions process,” it continued.
According to Harvard University’s admissions statistics page for the class of 2021, Asian-Americans represent 22.2 percent of total admissions. To put it into perspective, Asian-Americans make up between 5 to 5.5 percent of the total U.S. population, making them vastly overrepresented as a demographic in the college, even if it discriminates against those who outperform their peers.
However beneficial the Justice Department investigation into Harvard may be to the pursuit of meritocracy, American Oversight is far from happy about it. Its executive director, Austin Evers, believes that the Trump administration is using the investigation as a distraction.
“This is further proof that Attorney General Sessions and the Trump administration will continue to invoke civil rights only to further their own political agenda — not provide equal protections for all Americans,” said Evers in a statement to Washington Examiner. “It speaks volumes that Jeff Sessions’s Justice Department is prioritizing attacking affirmative action at a time when white nationalists are marching openly in the streets.”
Feature Image via Harvard University