The US judge ruled that Harvard was right to use race as a factor in admissions
The initial case involved a lawsuit against the Ivy League college for “engaging in racial balancing, uses race as far more than a ‘plus’ factor, and has no interest in exploring race-neutral alternatives”. Non-profit group Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) are leading the lawsuit.
Last November, Harvard was accused of limiting the number of Asian Americans admitted into the university. The US Justice Department threatened to sue the university if the institution failed to hand over certain records.
Harvard was accused of favouring black, Hispanic and white applicants over Asians who had the same grades. It was argued that more Asians would be admitted if admissions processed relied solely on race.
On Tuesday a US Federal Judge Allison Dale Burroughs ruled that Harvard was right to use race as a factor in its admissions process to create diversity at the university.
“The rich diversity at Harvard and other colleges and universities and the benefits that flow from that diversity will foster the tolerance, acceptance and understanding that will ultimately make race-conscious admissions obsolete,” she said.
“The court will not dismantle a very fine admissions programme that passes constitutional muster, solely because it could do better,” the judge added.
William Lee, Harvard’s lawyer, described the ruling as a “significant victory”.
“Now is not the time to turn back the clock on diversity and opportunity,” he said in a statement posted on Harvard’s website.
Aarti Kohli of Asian Americans Advancing Justice said the ruling was also a victory for Asian Americans.
“Today’s decision is a critical victory for Asian American students, who benefit from affirmative action and support race-conscious admissions policies,” Kohli said.