U.S. Federal Appeal Court Upholds Harvard’s Use of Affirmative Action in Admissions
The First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston upheld Harvard University’s decision on its admission process by using affirmative action last Thursday. This process allows the university to use race and ethnicity as a consideration when it comes to educational opportunities.
The Students for Fair Admissions (SFA), a nonprofit organization, represented a group of Asian American students who were rejected by the university. The SFA brought the case with an assertion that Harvard University has favored whites, Blacks and Hispanic students more than Asian-Americans in the admission process.
“… alleges that Defendant President and Fellows of Harvard College (‘Harvard’) discriminates against Asian American applicants in the undergraduate admission process to Harvard College,” the document of finding from the court wrote.
Edward Blum, the founder of SFA, claimed in a statement that the lawsuit should appeal to the Supreme Court, given the verdict from the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.
“While we are disappointed with the opinion of the First Circuit Court of Appeals, our hope is not lost,” said Blum. “This lawsuit is now on track to go up to the U.S. Supreme Court where we will ask the justices to end these unfair and unconstitutional race-based admissions policies at Harvard and all colleges and universities.”
While the anti-affirmative action organization argued that Harvard has violated Title VI of City Rights Act passed in 1964, Sandra Lynch, a Circuit Judge, responded that what Harvard has been advocating was meaningful. Lynch said it “ensures that Harvard can retain the benefits of diversity it has already achieved,” according to a report from Reuters.
The conclusion of the case found that Harvard has not violated the Civil Right Act of 1964. Instead, Harvard countered by stating that their admissions process “serves a compelling, permissible and substantial interest, and it is necessary and narrowly tailored to achieve diversity and the academic benefits that flow from diversity.”
Harvard President Larry Bacow told the Harvard Gazette, that the decision is a sign of another testimony to corroborate the college’s mission of inclusion and equality for students from all backgrounds.
“The consideration of race, alongside many other factors, helps us achieve our goal of creating a student body that enriches the education of every student. Diversity also represents a pathway for excellence for both Harvard and the nation,” Bacow said.