On Monday, federal lawsuits against Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were filed alleging that both universities discriminated against white and Asian American students as a result of their race-based affirmative action policies.
Moreover, according to an AP article, the lawsuit against Harvard alleges that the prestigious university has a limit for the number of Asian Americans it admits each year. Breitbart News reported in April that a proposed measure (SCA5) to reinstate affirmative action in California instigated a clash between Chinese-Americans and minority groups in California.
Chinese Americans opposed the reinstatement while Latinos, California’s largest ethnic group, strongly supported the reinstatement of affirmative action. Due to a huge backlash by Asian Americans, the measure was taken off the table for 2014, but chances are still strong that the measure could resurface in 2015.
According to the Washington D.C.-based legal defense fund, The Project on Fair Representation, the filing on Monday is just the first in what will be a series of legal challenges against universities across America aimed at ending racial preferences in the admissions process.
“Allowing this issue to be litigated in case after case will only perpetuate the hostilities that proper consideration of race is designed to avoid,” the lawsuits state. “Racial preferences are a dangerous tool and may only be used as a last resort. There is now overwhelming evidence that race-neutral alternatives render reliance on racial preferences unnecessary.”
Giving greater consideration for students with economic needs, so called “race neutral” polices, prove to be more effective in promoting diversity than race-based polices, the lawsuit suggests. Moreover, the lawsuit aims to do away with “legacy” programs that lower the academic bar for family of Alumni and admit applicants five times the rate of other applicants.
The lawsuit also challenges early admission filings which tend to hurt low income and minority applicants and give an unfair advantage to wealthy and white students.
Tim Groseclose a professor of Economics at George Mason University told Breitbart News that the case against Harvard is pretty remarkable. Some states have laws that disallow public universities to give racial preferences. “But this lawsuit has a much broader scope. If successful, it will mean that No university, not even a private one, can give racial preferences, as long as it receives federal funding,” he explained.
Groseclose who has held previous faculty appointments at UCLA, Caltech, Stanford, Ohio State, Harvard, and Carnegie Mellon University added that “If the results are similar to the results of California’s Prop. 209, the lawsuit would cause African American admissions to drop something like 40 or 50 percent at an elite university, and it would cause Asian admissions to rise about 10 percent.”
Moreover, according to the professor, the issue of legacy admissions is highly interesting. Groseclose doesn’t see how legacy admissions – at least at a private university – violates any law. Denying legacy students “will cause a quandary for the academic left” he points out. “Although legacy admissions are unfair, and I oppose them, they bring in revenue to the university. Lots of alumni are giving big donations to help their kids get admitted. If those donations dry up, professor salaries will go down and tangential programs like “studies” majors will disappear,” the professor asserted.
Groseclose says that progressive professors claim to oppose legacy admissions, “It will be interesting to see if they maintain that position when they realize it will affect their wallets.”