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Lawsuit: Harvard's legacy admissions puts minorities at disadvantage

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Chica Project, the African Community Economic Development of New England and the Greater Boston Latino Network.
Harvard University
Posted at 10:50 AM, Jul 04, 2023

A lawsuit is challenging Harvard's legacy admissions practice following the Supreme Court's ruling on affirmative action.

The federal complaint, filed by Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston, alleges that Harvard is engaging in discriminatory practices by giving preferential treatment to applicants with family ties to wealthy donors and alumni.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Chica Project, the African Community Economic Development of New England and the Greater Boston Latino Network

The complaint notes that Harvard's legacy applicants, nearly 70% of which are white, receive an advantage in the selection process. 

"Particularly in light of last week’s decision from the Supreme Court, it is imperative that the federal government act now to eliminate this unfair barrier that systematically disadvantages students of color," said Michael Kippins, a litigation fellow with Lawyers for Civil Rights. 

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The Supreme Court ruled last week that race cannot be a factor in college admissions, overturning a precedent last set in 2003. 

That decision has led to concern that diversity on college campuses will be impacted. 

"As the Supreme Court recently noted, 'eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it,'" said Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director for Lawyers for Civil Rights. "There should be no way to identify who your parents are in the college application process."

Harvard has not commented on the lawsuit, but in a statement to CNN,it did address how it will respond to the Supreme Court's decision on affirmative action. 

"In the weeks and months ahead, the University will determine how to preserve our essential values, consistent with the Court’s new precedent," a spokesperson for Harvard stated. 

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