According to an analysis of more than 160,000 student records, Harvard University routinely rated Asian-American applicants lower than any other race on personal traits such “positive personality, likability, courage, kindness and being ‘widely respected’”.
The findings of the analysis were filed in federal court in Boston by a group representing Asian-American students in a lawsuit against Harvard on Friday, June 15.
The New York Times reports that while the analysis showed that Asian-Americans consistently scored higher than other races on admissions metrics such as test scores, grades and extracurricular activities, the students’ low “personality” ratings “significantly dragged down their chances of being admitted”.
Furthermore, the suit states that while
via NY Times:
They are part of a lawsuit charging Harvard with systematically discriminating against Asian-Americans, in violation of civil rights law. The suit brought by Students for Fair Admissions says that Harvard imposes what is in effect a soft quota of “racial balancing.” This keeps the numbers of Asian-Americans artificially low, while advancing less qualified white, black and Hispanic applicants, the plaintiffs contend.
Harvard vigorously defended its admissions process on Friday, saying that its own expert analysis showed no discrimination. It lashed out at the founder of Students for Fair Admissions, Edward Blum, accusing him of using Harvard in an effort to orchestrate a challenge to race-conscious admissions that would go to the Supreme Court.
“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,” Harvard said in a statement. “Mr. Blum and his organization’s incomplete and misleading data analysis paint a dangerously inaccurate picture of Harvard College’s whole-person admissions process by omitting critical data and information factors.”
As previously mentioned, the plaintiffs’ analysis was based data extracted from the records of more than 160,000 applicants who applied for admission over six cycles from 2000 to 2015.
Seth Waxman, a lawyer for Harvard, said the statistical analysis could not measure the impact of material like teacher and community recommendations and personal essays.