REJECTION. But Thanks for Applying ;)

Asian Americans file complaint alleging discrimination in Harvard admissions

Unless you are related the application or admissions process for a college or university (for example, a family member may be applying to a university), it would not cross your mind about who gets accepted or rejected.  Harvard’s discriminatory admissions process has been noticed and felt by Asian American communities, so much so that they are raising their voices and putting them in writing.  

Harvard Admissions has not released their criteria for acceptance and rejection, so people like me, cannot accuse them of discriminatory actions.  There was a time in the U.S. where it was impossible for any minority individual to be accepted into any university – namely African-Americans after the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were passed, and several suits reached the U.S. Supreme Court because individuals were not being protected under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause (super important clause, by the way).

In Sweatt v. Painter, Sweatt was one of the first African-Americans to have his case reach the U.S. Supreme Court in 1950.  He applied to the University of Texas Law School and was rejected, surprise, surprise, because he was Black.  In addition, the state of Texas banned African American students to be admitted into their Law Schools.  After the Supreme Court ruled in his favor, he was forced to sit in the door frame or outside of the classroom, and was bullied by other White students.

In Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, Bakke, a Caucasian student who applied to the UC system’s medical school twice and was rejected both times, even though his MCAT scores, GPA, and benchmark scores were slightly higher than the minority students that were admitted.  He found out that the school system was using a quota system to admit students into medical school to have a more balanced student population.  It was 1978 when his case reached the Supreme Court, and the Court ruled in his favor: 5-4.  In the majority opinion, it was nice that the UC system was trying to have a diverse student population, but the quota system was unfair, and schools needed to use criteria that reflected on the whole applicant.

Both Sweatt and Bakke used the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause, and they both won.  Again, since Harvard Admissions has not released their admissions criteria, we still do not know if they are at fault and whether it would reach the Supreme Court (if needed).  I would like to know what you think.

In mainland China, the admissions process to school and government jobs are determined by taking tests.  These test-taking roots go all the way back to the 200s BC when Confucius (and Mozi) favored a meritocracy (it was the fairest way).  In the present, what happens is you start studying for these tests ASAP and parents spend lots of money for tutoring, after school cram sessions, books and the such to prepare you to get only the best grades and pass exams.  You all are most familiar with the grading system in school, so I will skip it.  For school exams, how well (or poor) you score is dependent on which school you are placed in.  It starts from primary school all the way to university.

For governmental job exams, you take the county level exam, then provincial level, then state level exam.  If you pass the county level exam, you can have a county-level job; then you are eligible to take the provincial exam for a provincial-level job; same thing for the state.  You cannot skip and get to the top.  I have heard that there are guards or people who check the test takers’ persons and their erasers (where they can write answers).  No cheating allowed.  I forget which tests are three days long, where you are stuck in a cell/stall where nobody is allowed to go in or out (including the test taker) until the three days are up.  More on this for another post…someday.

The following article is copied and pasted from the Washington Post.  Check out their entry to see the complaint at the bottom.

May 16 at 12:15 AM

More than 60 Asian American organizations filed a complaint (see below) with the federal government on Friday alleging that Harvard University discriminates against Asian Americans in the admissions process and calling for an investigation.

The Harvard Crimson, a student newspaper on campus, wrote in this storythat 64 groups filed the complaint with the U.S. Education and Justice departments, arguing that the university makes an “unlawful use of race” in its decisions that hurts Asian Americans.

More than 21 percent of the admitted students for the current school year were Asian American, according to Harvard data. Asian Americans comprised the largest minority group accepted, the data shows. In the Class of 2017, admitted four years earlier, Asian Americans comprised 19.9 percent.

The complaint, in part, says:

Over the last two decades, Asian-American applicants to Harvard University and other Ivy League colleges have increasingly experienced discrimination in the admissions process. Many Asian-American students who have almost perfect SAT scores, top 1% GPAs, plus significant awards or leadership positions in various extracurricular activities have been rejected by Harvard University and other Ivy League Colleges while similarly situated applicants of other races have been admitted. Because of this discrimination, it has become especially difficult for high-performing male Asian-American students to gain admission to Harvard University and other Ivy League colleges. In recently years these trends have become more and more severe. They are widely reported by various Asian-American web bloggers and other media.

The Crimson story said that Robert W. Iuliano, the university’s general counsel, issued a statement in response to Friday’s complaint denying that Harvard admissions uses unlawful methods of selecting students:

“[W]ithin its holistic admissions process, and as part of its effort to build a diverse class, Harvard College has demonstrated a strong record of recruiting and admitting Asian American students,” Iuliano wrote, citing recent increases in the percentage of admitted Asian American students at Harvard College.

The complaint, the Crimson said, draws on the work of a number of admissions researchers, including Thomas J. Espenshade, a sociologist at Princeton who has written extensively about the subject. He told the Crimson that his research suggests that Asian Americans are disadvantaged in college admissions, but it is not clear because all parts of a student’s application are not available to researchers. He was quoted as saying:

“I stop short of saying that Asian-American students are being discriminated against in the college application process because we don’t have sufficient empirical evidence to support that claim.”

Asian Americans have for years argued that they are being discriminated against in college admissions. A recent Los Angeles Times story about how college admissions is changing for Asian Americans says in part:

College admission season ignites deep anxieties for Asian American families, who spend more than any other demographic on education. At elite universities across the U.S., Asian Americans form a larger share of the student body than they do of the population as a whole. And increasingly they have turned against affirmative action policies that could alter those ratios, and accuse admissions committees of discriminating against Asian American applicants.

That perspective has pitted them against advocates for diversity: More college berths for Asian American students mean fewer for black and Latino students, who are statistically underrepresented at top universities.

That story tells of a college prep business called HS2 Academy which “assumes that racial bias is a fact of college admissions and counsels students accordingly” with a goal of helping Asian American applicants “avoid coming off like another ‘cookie-cutter Asian.’”

This is the second complaint against Harvard admissions  practices on behalf of Asian Americans in a month. A legal defense group called Project on Fair Representation filed a lawsuit against Harvard about a month ago on behalf of a group called Students for Fair Admissions. It accuses Harvard of “employing racially and ethnically discriminatory policies” in its admissions practices. You can read that suit here.

Here’s the newest complaint against Harvard filed with the Justice and Education departments:

Off the Great Wall (OTGW) recently posted a video about this and additional info. this article doesn’t include.


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I began writing Elle's Adventure in China (EACh) in June 2014 as a fun summer project, but as obstacles kept interfering with my plans, I forked and forked more options. I took writing this novel much more seriously in mid-July, and want to have it officially published someday in my lifetime. As many artists put their hearts into their projects, so do I. I did not start out liking to read, but a professor suggested a book for me for homework a few years ago, and it was an amazing book. Since then, I read for pleasure, and I hope my novel, Elle's Adventure in China, does the same for as many of you as possible. The same thing goes to writing. I did not like to write until I took a course where the professor and papers made me love to write. I hope every one of you find what makes you happy and dedicated to work. In May 2015, I started my other blog, Read and Write Here (R&WH), as a place to post other things that aren't China- and Chinese culture-related and not EACh. I share some of my memories and experiences from student teaching, irregular participation in Daily Prompts, etc. I'd like to have regular people and bloggers to write book reviews and post it on R&WH someday. Keep reading and writing!

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