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‘Racial balancing’: Harvard College ranks Asian-Americans lower on personality traits, says lawsuit

Personality traits rated were likability, kindness, courage and being “widely respected,” according to The New York Times.

world Updated: Jun 17, 2018 07:26 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times, Washington
Harvard College,Asian-Americans,Racial balancing’
The suit, filed on Friday, accused Harvard College of discriminating against immigrants from Asia, including those from India. (Getty images)

Harvard College has consistently accorded Asian-American applicants the lowest rating among racial groups on a key admission criterion of personality, a lawsuit has claimed.

The suit, filed on Friday, accused the iconic institution of discriminating against immigrants from Asia, including those from India.

“Despite their superiority in the measurables for academic and extracurricular achievement, Asian-American applicants have the lowest score of the four major racial groups on Harvard’s personal rating — the most subjective of all the ratings,” said the lawsuit filed by the non-profit Students for Fair Admissions in a court in Boston, Massachusetts.

Personality traits rated were likability, kindness, courage and being “widely respected,” according to The New York Times. The plea went on to state: “Incontrovertible evidence shows that Harvard’s admissions policy has a disproportionately negative effect on Asian-Americans vis-à-vis similarly situated white applicants that cannot be explained on non-discriminatory grounds.”

The suit did not give an ethnic breakdown of the umbrella term Asian Americans, but Edward Blum, founder of the organisation, told Hindustan Times, “The Asian classification includes students from the Indian subcontinent.” Harvard defines “Asian-Americans” as people of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Hmong or Indian descent.

The lawsuit says there is “undisputed evidence” based on analysis of six years of admissions data and records of nearly 200,000 applicants that Harvard is doing “racial balancing”.

It claims Harvard suppressed a 2013 internal investigation that had found discrimination against Asian Americans in admissions.

“Today’s court filing exposes the startling magnitude of Harvard’s discrimination against Asian-American applicants,” Blum, a former investment broker who has for decades challenged how institutions and governments incorporate race into their decision-making processes wrote on the organization’s website.

Harvard said in a counter motion filed in the court: “The analysis in those documents was not designed to evaluate whether Harvard was intentionally discriminating and reached no such conclusion.”

It added, in a statement, “Thorough and comprehensive analysis of the data and evidence makes clear that Harvard College does not discriminate against applicants from any group, including Asian-Americans, whose rate of admission has grown 29 percent over the last decade.”

First Published: Jun 17, 2018 07:26 IST