Harvard accused of ducking, dodging affirmative action complaint

Harvard accused of ducking, dodging affirmative action complaint

Harvard accused of ducking, dodging affirmative action complaint

The DOJ previously posted a job opening for lawyers willing to investigate another 2015 complaint Asian American students filed that alleges racial bias in Harvard's acceptance policies. The measure prohibits institutions that receive federal funding from discriminating based on race, color or national origin.

"For decades, Harvard has unfairly and unlawfully restricted the number of Asians it admits", said Students for Fair Admission president Edward Blum.

A November 17 letter from the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division addressed to Harvard's lawyers threatens to sue if Harvard does not provide documents related to its admissions policies and practices by December 1, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Justice Department accused Harvard of stonewalling the investigation with a delay tactic.

The Justice Department cited a 2015 lawsuit that charges Harvard's affirmative action policies discriminate against Asian-American applicants, in a letter setting a December 1 deadline for Harvard to hand over documents on its admission policies.

Seth Waxman, a lawyer for Harvard, cited concerns over the release of candidates' applications and other privileged information, including "candid evaluations of those students".

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As Kirk Carapezza reported for NPR, when the complaint was made initially "the Obama administration dismissed the claim without evaluating its merit" due to the pending lawsuit.

Affirmative action programs in higher education were meant to address racial discrimination. "'On the other hand, you have conservatives who feel like their voices are being shut down in debates over things like affirmative action and immigration and sexual assault'".

The squabble follows reports that the Justice Department had begun an investigation into whether university affirmative action admission policies broadly discriminate against white applicants. And they warned Harvard that the Justice Department may file a lawsuit if it doesn't comply with the request.

Harvard has said in the past that its admissions policies on race have lined up with legal precedent set over the past 40 years by the Supreme Court, which has allowed for race to be a factor in the admissions process. "In that case, if a federal judge finds that Harvard has violated Title VI, the court has broad authority to issue a remedy, such as ordering the university to change its admissions policies, experts say".

"The Department of Justice takes seriously any potential violation of an individual's civil and constitutional rights, but we will not comment at this time", Justice Department spokesperson Devin O'Malley told The Wall Street Journal in a statement Tuesday.

"One possibility is that it could lead to litigation in court between the Justice Department and Harvard".

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