Education

Appeals Court Rules Harvard Doesn't Discriminate Against Asian American Applicants

A panel of judges Thursday found that Harvard, pictured here in July, doesn't discriminate against Asian American students in the admissions process.
A panel of judges Thursday found that Harvard, pictured here in July, doesn't discriminate against Asian American students in the admissions process.
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

A federal appeals court in Boston has ruled Harvard doesn't intentionally discriminate against Asian-American applicants in its admissions process.

The panel of judges upheld the federal district court's decision from last year, teeing up a possible case in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Circuit Judge Sandra L. Lynch, who wrote Thursday's decision, agreed with the lower court that "the statistical evidence did not show that Harvard intentionally discriminated against Asian Americans."

Students for Fair Admissions, an advocacy group, first filed their lawsuit back in 2014, saying that Harvard's race-based considerations for applicants discriminated against Asian American students in process.

Proponents of ending race-based considerations at U.S. universities were unfazed by Thursday's decision and plan to bring the case to the Supreme Court, according to Edward Blum, the conservative strategist behind SFFA.

Blum said in a statement to NPR member station GBH that he plans to ask the Supreme Court to end the consideration of race in admissions at Harvard and all other universities.

The question of how much race should be a factor in college applicants is a hotly contested one. President Trump's administration has challenged colleges on using race in admissions policies, claiming they violate federal law. Last month, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Yale University, saying its policies violate the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Yale has said the lawsuit is "baseless."

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