At Harvard, Asians are the new Jews

Lawsuits against Harvard and the University of North Carolina were filed this week by a group that includes two unnamed college students who were rejected from those schools. According to Inside Higher Ed, the Harvard applicant is of Asian ethnicity who had a perfect ACT score, the highest possible SAT score on several exams, and was valedictorian of his high school. He didn’t get in.

 

According to Reason Magazine author Robby Soave, Harvard has kept their Asian student population constant over many years, while universities that don’t consider race as an admission factor have seen more Asians gain admittance.

 

Harvard has a history of placing an arbitrary cap on students of certain backgrounds. Between 1918 and the 1950s, Harvard put an arbitrary cap of 17% on the number of Jewish students it would accept in incoming classes. Thankfully, civil society no longer morally accepts “too many Jews” as a valid form of discrimination. The result of ending the Jewish quota has been that Harvard has been more successful at being the university for the best and brightest students. When will Harvard – and all universities – recognize that applicants should be judged based on individual merit, not representatives of certain racial or ethnic groups?

 

Harvard’s “too many Asians” quota is just as immoral and repugnant as their previous discrimination and should not be tolerated. Accepting the best and brightest applicants – even if they are ‘guilty of applying while Asian’ – can only help Harvard be a stronger institution while also protecting our American value of equal treatment under law without regard to ethnic background.

 

As someone who has personally gone through the exhausting, frustrating, and intimidating process of suing a major university for fair treatment, my heart and prayers go out to the courageous students who filed this week’s lawsuits. Thank you for your courage and willingness to fight for what is your right: to be judged as an individual and not as a representative of a certain ethnicity or skin color.

 

- Jennifer Gratz