Rule of Law

Justice Department: 45% of Blacks at Harvard Admitted Through Illegal Race Preferences

Almost half of all blacks and Hispanics who attend Harvard were admitted because of illegal racial preferences in admissions according to a brief just filed by the Department of Justice.

The Department of Justice filed the brief in a federal lawsuit filed by Students For Fair Admissions. It says Harvard’s race-based admissions process violates federal law. This filing marks an extreme departure from the Obama Civil Rights Division that spent significant time and resources seeking to expand the use of race in decision making.

The brief says Harvard “considers applicants’ race at virtually every step, from rating applicants to winnowing the field of applicants when attempting to avoid an oversubscribed class.” It notes that forty-five percent of African-Americans and Hispanics at Harvard are there because of racial preferences given to them during the admissions process.

The Justice Department notes that providing blacks racial preferences has created a large class of victim applicants: Asians. The brief:

Harvard’s process imposes a racial penalty by systematically disfavoring Asian-American applicants. It does so in part through the subjective personal rating that admissions officers apply with minimal guidance or supervision. That rating produces consistently poorer scores for Asian Americans.

The Justice Department brief also noted that Harvard employs a consistent racial quota to admit applicants to the class in essentially the same percentages, year after year. “The racial breakdown of Harvard’s admitted classes over time reflects that they are the product of deliberate racial balancing,” the brief notes.

“Race discrimination hurts people and is never benign,” said Civil Rights Division Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “Unconstitutionally partitioning Americans into racial and ethnic blocs harms all involved by fostering stereotypes, bitterness, and division among the American people. The Department of Justice will continue to fight against illegal race discrimination.”

(Photo of Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. Justice Department photo)

The brief portrays the Harvard admissions process as wholly race-obsessed, seeking to produce outcomes based on race as a primary concern:

The school considers race at virtually every step of its admission process. And its officials constantly monitor and continually reshape the racial makeup of each admitted class as it emerges. Those mechanisms confirm that Harvard’s racial balancing is no accident; it is engineered.

Federal law, Title VI, forbids schools that receive federal assistance from discriminating based on race. Harvard expressly agreed to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a civil-rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs and activities that receive any federal financial assistance.

Harvard’s obsession with race continues even after students are admitted. The school offers over 300 courses dedicated to race, including “Caste, Race, and Democracy,” “Interracial Intimacy: Sex, Race, and Romance in the U.S.,” “Coloniality, Race and Catastrophe,” and without any hint of irony, “Understanding Educational Inequality through the Lens of Economics and Race,” “Diversity and Dispute Resolution,” and “The Role of Public Policy in U.S. Racial Inequality.”

Those denied admission are not the only victims of illegal racial preferences. Even those admitted suffer from higher dropout rates through the mismatch between admissions scores and the curriculum.