Justice Dept. Chimes In on Discrimination Complaint Against Harvard

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a brief on Friday in a lawsuit challenging Harvard University's use of race and ethnicity in admissions decisions, The Washington Post reported. The agency is requesting that a federal court allow evidence in the case—internal information about Harvard admissions practices—to be made public.

The U.S. District Court in Boston held a hearing on the challenge on Tuesday.

The plaintiffs, called Students for Fair Admissions, have charged Harvard of discrimination against Asian Americans applicants and have gathered evidence through the pretrial phase of discovery that they say substantiate their claim.

Harvard denies the allegation and is seeking to prevent public disclosure of any evidence its attorneys say would compromise the privacy of applicants and under­mine the admissions process. The university, like its peers, asserts that race is only one factor among many in its holistic review of applications. It also contends that schools have a compelling educational interest in seeking racial diversity. The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of the use of race in college admissions despite perennial debate about affirmative action, reported the Post.

The Justice Dept. is backing those suing Harvard, and the government brief said it is currently investigating similar issues to those raised by the lawsuit.


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