Justice Department supports Asian American students in their suit against Harvard University

Los Angeles discrimination lawyer

The Department of Justice sided with the Asian American students who have brought an affirmative action lawsuit against Harvard University.

Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the students and their families sued Harvard University, alleging the prestigious college’s admission process discriminates against Asian American applicants. Because Harvard benefits from millions in federal funds, the Justice Department issued a statement on the case.

“No American should be denied admission to school because of their race. As a recipient of taxpayer dollars, Harvard has a responsibility to conduct its admissions policy without racial discrimination by using meaningful admissions criteria that meet lawful requirements,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.

According to a DOJ official, Harvard officials have stated in depositions that race is considered in admissions, but they did not explain how. One way admissions officers weigh applicants is by giving them a subjective “personal rating” based on “human qualities” and “likeability.” A review of this scoring system found that Asian Americans rate lower than white applicants and other minorities.

In a statement, Harvard University said it “does not discriminate against applicants from any group, and will continue to vigorously defend the legal right of every college and university to consider race as one factor among many in college admissions, which the Supreme Court has consistently upheld for more than 40 years.”