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Majority of Harvard’s Incoming Class Is Nonwhite
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Summary: 50.8 percent of Harvard University’s incoming freshman class is a racial minority. 

Harvard’s push to increase diversity on its campus has resulted in the majority of its incoming class being nonwhite, according to The Boston Globe. This is the first time in Harvard’s history where less white students were accepted than minorities, and the news has come at the same time that the Department of Justice is reportedly cracking down on affirmative action.


A recent New York Times article said that the Justice Department, led by Jeff Sessions, was hiring lawyers to investigate and litigate affirmative action policies on college and university campuses. The Times said that the Trump Administration wants to stop discrimination of white applicants.

On Wednesday, the White House denied The Times allegations and instead said that the DOJ was specifically looking at one discrimination complaint from an Asian-American coalition that was filed in 2015. The organization said that Harvard University and other Ivy Leagues used racial quotas that kept out high-achieving Asian-Americans.

This year, Harvard accepted 22.2 percent of applicants who identified as Asian, which is a similar statistic to last year’s freshman class.

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Asian-Americans made up the majority of the nonwhite majority, followed by African Americans at 14.6%, Hispanic or Latino students at 11.6%, and Native American or Pacific Islanders at 2.5%, according to The BBC.

Edward Blum, who is white and had filed the Asian-American discrimination lawsuit against Harvard, told The Boston Globe that he was surprised that the Justice Department was interested in the case and that he had not been contacted about an investigation. Blum also filed a lawsuit against the University of Noth Carolina and the University of Texas-Austin for allegedly discriminating against white students.

Harvard has defended its admission process, stating that it looks for candidates from different races and locations who have a variety of experiences that would make up a diverse student landscape.

“To become leaders in our diverse society, students must have the ability to work with people from different backgrounds, life experiences, and perspectives. Harvard remains committed to enrolling diverse classes of students,” said Rachael Dane, a spokeswoman for Harvard told The Boston Globe. “Harvard’s admissions process considers each applicant as a whole person, and we review many factors, consistent with the legal standards established by the US Supreme Court.”

The Supreme Court ruled in Fisher v. Texas, which was filed with help from Blum, that higher education institutions could consider race as a factor in admissions but could not set quotas.

Roger Clegg, president of the conservative Center for Equal Opportunity, told The BBC that affirmative action was outdated and discriminated one minority against another.

“I understand the visceral sense that African Americans have been treated badly in this country for a very long time, and right after we got rid of Jim Crow [segregation laws], it wasn’t such a bad idea to give special consideration over someone who was a recent beneficiary of Jim Crow. But now we’re in 2017. Jim Crow is long gone and we’re talking about giving Latinos a preference over Asian Americans. What possible sense does that make?” Clegg said.

Vinay Harpalani, a law professor at Savannah Law School who specializes in affirmative action, said that universities may fear using affirmative action if the DOJ goes after Harvard because of the 2015 case.

“The fact that the Trump [administration] may investigate this may make universities more wary about using race in their admissions policies,” Harpalani told The Daily Mail.

Photo courtesy of CNBC

What do you think of affirmative action? Let us know in the comments below.


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