Meet The Asian Americans Defending Harvard From Discrimination Charges

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

Harvard University will defend its admission system, accused of discriminating against Asian American applicants, in an October trial.

But not all Asian Americans are upset with the school.

Nonprofit civil rights and legal aid group Asian Americans Advancing Justice filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Ivy League institution, reported The Washington Post.

“The vast majority of Asian Americans support affirmative action and have historically benefitted greatly from the consideration of race,” Advancing Justice supervising attorney Nicole Ochi said. “We refuse to be used as a wedge by outside players stoking the insecurities of newer Asian immigrants, provoking them to lash out at the very programs that have helped communities of color gain access to higher education. In our current political climate where racism and bigotry continue to be normalized, it is more important than ever to acknowledge that race still matters and should not be the only aspect of an applicant’s story that is excluded from consideration in the admissions process.”

“I support Harvard’s race-conscious admissions program and I do not think that Harvard discriminates against Asian Americans, but that does not mean that Harvard has done enough,” Harvard Vietnamese American student Thang Diep said in a statement cited by Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

Diep wants Harvard to diversify its pool of Asian American students. But while the school has obtained support in the lawsuit, the plaintiff, Students for Fair Admissions, has also garnered help.

“Racial identity should play no role in determining who should or should not be admitted, and the same standards should be applied to all individuals,” conservative nonprofit National Association of Scholars president Peter Wood said. “Judgments about good character may be appropriate, but not when they serve as subterfuges to favor or disfavor whole categories of students.”

Wood referred to Students for Fair Admissions’ claim that Harvard marked Asian American applicants down for their personality. (RELATED: Harvard Docked Asian Americans For Personality, Lawsuit Alleges)

The proportion of Asian Americans at Harvard has hung around 17 percent during the last couple of decades, according to New York Post. But 23 percent of the school’s Class of 2022 was Asian American.

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