Asian Student Group Calls Harvard’s Admissions Policy Racist, Files Complaint

AP Photo

A group of Asian-Americans have filed a complaint against Harvard saying that the school engaged in “systemic and continuous discrimination” against Asians with its admissions policy.

Over 60 groups representing Chinese, Indians, Korean, and Pakistanis joined forces to file complaints with the civil rights offices at both the departments of justice and education.

The complaint alleges that Harvard uses racial quotas to keep Asian-Americans out while promoting other minority candidates.

“We are seeking equal treatment regardless of race,” said Chunyan Li, one of the members of the coalition.

“We want to eliminate discrimination of Asian Americans, and we want procedural justice for all racial groups,” spokesperson Yukong Zhao told NBC News. “All racial groups should be treated equal.”

For its part, Harvard has claimed that it uses a “holistic admissions process” that “fully” complies with federal law. The school also notes that recently more Asians have been admitted, with percentages rising from 17.6 percent to 21 percent.

But Robert Iuliano, Harvard’s general counsel, went on to defend the school’s practice. “We will vigorously defend the right of Harvard, and other universities, to continue to seek the educational benefits that come from a class that is diverse on multiple dimensions,” he said.

The DOJ did not comment on the matter on Friday, and the Department of Education would not acknowledge that it received the complaint.

But the Dept. of Ed. did report that it had received a complaint similar to the one filed last week and found that Harvard was acting within the law.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.