(RepublicanPress.org) – The nation’s educational institutions have struggled with various issues regarding racial bias in admissions practices over the years, prompting several lawsuits. Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the First District affirmed a lower court ruling clearing Harvard University of discriminating against Asian-Americans applying for entry.
The November 12 ruling rejected claims made by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), accusing the university of imposing racial penalties on Asian-Americans. Court watchers believe the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will eventually take up the case, and attorneys for Harvard University and SFFA have been preparing for that eventuality.
SFFA President Edward Blum issued a statement after the ruling expressing optimism that SCOTUS would end “unfair and unconstitutional race-based admissions policies” at American colleges and universities.
Background of the Case
The SFFA’s lawsuit alleged Harvard used a so-called “personal rating” system that discriminated against Asian-Americans. Under that system, the applicants unfairly received low scores in the rating system, although they had some of the best academic records.
Harvard lawyers denied the allegation, claiming they followed Supreme Court guidelines established in earlier cases. The lower court agreed, and ruled in the Ivy League university’s favor after a three-week trial.
The SFFA filed a lawsuit challenging race-based admissions practices at the University of Texas, Austin, in 2018. In July 2020, a state court dismissed the case, but the SFFA filed a new suit in federal court on July 20, 2020. It also has a lawsuit working its way through the courts against the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
College admissions scandals also crossed class boundaries last year when Justice Department prosecutors arrested 50 individuals for participating in a scheme to cheat admissions systems nationwide in March 2019. Dubbed by the media the “Varsity Blues Scandal,” several celebrities got caught up in the case, with film actress Lori Loughlin reporting to serve a two-month prison sentence on November 2, 2020.
The Trump administration has supported efforts to hold higher learning accountable for race-based discriminatory admissions practices by filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the Harvard case and others involving other academic institutions like Yale University. Elections have consequences.
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