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Federal judge finds Harvard admissions process constitutional

Students for Fair Admission, a nonprofit representing a group of Asian American students rejected from Harvard, filed suit against the university in November 2014. A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Harvard did not discriminate against Asian American students in their admissions process. (Courtesy of Sackton)

By Julia Shapero

Oct. 2, 2019 12:21 a.m.

This post was updated Oct. 2 at 5:30 p.m.

Harvard University did not discriminate against Asian American students in their admissions process, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

Judge Allison Burroughs said in the ruling that although the university’s admissions process is imperfect, it meets the precedent set by the Supreme Court for the use of race in admissions.

Burroughs added the use of race in admissions is still important for ensuring colleges and universities create diverse environments for their students.

“It is this, at Harvard and elsewhere that will move us, one day to the point where we see that race is a fact, but not the defining fact and not the fact that tells us what is important, but we are not there yet,” Burroughs said in the ruling. “Until we are, race conscious admissions programs that survive strict scrutiny will have an important place in society.”

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Students for Fair Admissions, a nonprofit representing a group of Asian American students rejected from Harvard, filed suit against the university in November 2014. The group claimed affirmative action was used by Harvard to discriminate against Asian American minorities in favor of other minorities.

Edward Blum, president of SFFA, previously took another affirmative action case involving a white student to the Supreme Court in 2016. It was ultimately unsuccessful.

The use of race in admissions is prohibited in California, including within the University of California system, due to a proposition passed in 1996 that barred the UC and public employers from using race or gender in admissions and hiring.

Blum said he was disappointed by the ruling, adding that SFFA will appeal the decision, according to NPR.

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Julia Shapero | Assistant News editor
Shapero is a senior staff News reporter. She was previously an assistant News editor in the National News & Higher Education beat. Shapero is a fourth-year political science student who enjoys covering national and statewide news.
Shapero is a senior staff News reporter. She was previously an assistant News editor in the National News & Higher Education beat. Shapero is a fourth-year political science student who enjoys covering national and statewide news.
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