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Harvard Asian Discrimination Trial, Day 3: Money in Exchange for Admission

Lawrence Bacow
The Associated Press

The trial over Harvard’s alleged discrimination against Asian-American applicants continued in a Boston courthouse on Wednesday, the third day in front of the judge.

According to a report by the Crimson, on Wednesday, Harvard Dean of Admissions William Fitzsimmons returned to the stand to answer questions about the university’s practice of accepting students with wealthy parents, some of which have attended Harvard themselves. The issue of “legacy” admissions has been controversial for quite some time and it often comes up alongside debates over affirmative action.

Fitzsimmons was asked about a series of emails in which the Harvard admission’s office seemed to “roll out the red carpet” for wealthy students.

“It would mean a great deal to [redacted] and to [redacted] to see [redacted] at Harvard,” a Harvard staffer wrote in one email about a special tour he gave to a candidate after his family donated $1.1 million to the school. “Thus we rolled out the red carpet and were all delighted that [redacted] had a great time.”

“Once again you have done wonders. I am simply thrilled about the folks you were able to admit,” another school official said in another email. “[Redacted] and [redacted] are all big wins. [Redacted] has already committed to a building.” The email is likely referring to a donor committing to contribute funds for a new building on campus.

“[Redacted] was a devoted [redacted] Chair and generous donor,” a school official wrote in an email about whether or not to accept a student whose family have donated in the past. “Going forward, I don’t see a significant opportunity for further major gifts. [Redacted] had an art collection which conceivably could come our way.”

Fitzsimmons admitted that family donations could legitimately increase a student’s chance of admission. He defended the practice, arguing that it is “important for the long-term health of the institution.” He went on to explain that the practice helps fund scholarships.

According to evidence in the trial, approximately 10 percent of the Harvard Class of 2019 is part of the “Director’s List,” which includes the wealthy students from families that have either made or plan to make contributions to the university.

The Students for Fair Admissions, the plaintiff in the case, pointed out that the students on the “Director’s List” are overwhelmingly white. They make the case that this list proves as another example of how Asian-American applicants are disadvantaged in the Harvard admissions process.

On Tuesday, Fitzsimmons fired back against accusations that his office stereotypes Asian-American applicants. Stay tuned to Breitbart News for more coverage on the ongoing trial.

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