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In 2016 the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of affirmative action at the University of Texas-Austin (UT), further validating the use of race in admissions policies around the country.
The efforts of opponents of affirmative action were temporarily stymied, but they have reemerged with a lawsuit against Harvard University claiming the school discriminates against Asian-Americans, The New York Times reported.
An anti-affirmative action group called Students for Fair Admissions filed a lawsuit against Harvard in 2015, alleging that the college and other Ivy League institutions use racial quotas to admit students to the detriment of more qualified Asian-American applicants. The group includes a coalition of more than 60 Asian-American groups.
“It falls afoul of our most basic civil rights principles, and those principles are that your race and your ethnicity should not be something to be used to harm you in life nor help you in life,” Edward Blum, the president of Students for Fair Admissions, told The Times.
Blum is the same figure who helped to bring the landmark University of Texas-Austin case to the Supreme Court.
The suit against Harvard claims Asian-American applicants are held to a higher standard than others and must achieve, for example, higher test scores to be accepted.
Michael Wang, an Asian-American recent college graduate, relates to those claims. He was ranked second in his class and graduated with a 4.67 weighted GPA. He scored a 2230 on his SAT, placing him in the 99th percentile of students who took the exam.
When he applied in 2013, Wang suspected that his race might work against him. But he was still shocked when he received rejection letters from Stanford and every Ivy League school except for the University of Pennsylvania.
“There was nothing humanly possible I could do,” Wang told Business Insider in 2016, adding that he felt utterly demoralized after his rejections.
The Department of Justice confirmed it has begun seeking volunteers to investigate the Harvard complaint, an indication that they may be starting an investigation.
That may mean that the case is aimed for the Supreme Court, and may wage the next war in the fight over the use of race in admissions policies.