Courts Rule That Harvard Is Not Discriminating Against Asian Americans

Courts Rule That Harvard Is Not Discriminating Against Asian Americans

Katie Frost, Guest Contributor

When affirmative action was first introduced, it was necessary for allowing the elimination of racial and sexual discrimination. It was designed to give previously disadvantaged groups the opportunity to achieve the same levels of success in jobs and higher education opportunities. According to HG Legal Resources was, “the main focus of affirmative action was to promote social equality through the preferential treatment of socioeconomically disadvantaged people.” When discrimination and lack of opportunity for marginalized groups was prevalent, these measures were necessary in order to move towards a more equal society. 

Unfortunately, affirmative action, specifically in the college admissions process at Harvard against Asian Americans, has begun to become the thing it was intended to end. As American society becomes more equal, the necessary advantages granted to marginalized manifests as a form of reverse discrimination against Asian-Americans. According to New York Post, “Asian Americans only received a recruitment letter if they score at least 250 points higher [than African American, Native American and Hispanic high schoolers] — 1350 for women, 1380 for men.” The data shows a clear disparity between the SAT score standards. One example of discrimination included penalizing their “personality score,” one of the three criteria used to determine the excellence of a student, the other two being academic and extracurricular scores. Another instance of discrimination was requiring Asian-Americans to receive higher scores on their tests because of their race. 

To combat this “reverse discrimination,” the Students For Fair Admissions group accused Harvard of discriminating against Asian-Americans in their admissions process. In early October, the courts ruled that Harvard was not discriminating against Asian Americans in their admissions based on race and that they were following the rules of how to implement affirmative action. To require one individual to earn higher test scores than another to reach the same result based on race is discriminatory. Freshman Samuel Gamez said that “Harvard is discriminating against Asian Americans in its admissions process because there are no reasons that standards should be lower based on race.” Sophomore Natalie De La Fuerte also stated that “We shouldn’t pay attention to race in the admissions process.” 

Additionally, lowering the standardized test score requirements for a student based on race is both demeaning and harmful to them in the long run. According to Slate, “A student who scored in the 95th percentile on the SAT or ACT was about 60 percent more likely to graduate than a student who scored in the 50th percentile.” Students who score significantly lower on standardized tests, regardless of race, but still are admitted into the top colleges due to the lowered score requirements, are at an increased risk of dropping out due to the rigorous coursework of elite colleges. Because Harvard uses race in its admissions process which favors certain groups of people over others, this presents a viable case of discrimination and should be revisited by the courts.