Lawsuits could change affirmative action policies in higher education

Insight

Two lawsuits may change the way elite universities use race and ethnicity in college admissions. In one case, a qualified Chinese-American student is suing Harvard University, saying he was denied admission into the Ivy League school because of his race. Another lawsuit from a white student against the University of North Carolina makes a similar claim. CCTV America’s Jim Spellman reported this story from Washington D.C.

Lawsuits could change affirmative action policies in higher education

Two lawsuits may change the way elite universities use race and ethnicity in college admissions. In one case, a qualified Chinese-American student is suing Harvard University, saying he was denied admission into the Ivy League school because of his race. Another lawsuit from a white student against the University of North Carolina makes a similar claim. CCTV America's Jim Spellman reported this story from Washington D.C.

Attending prestigious Harvard University is a lifelong dream for many of the world’s brightest students. But it’s a dream unfairly denied to one Chinese-American student, according to his lawsuit.

The suit claims the student, who is not named, was at the top of his high school class, had perfect ACT test scores, was active in sports, and volunteered in his community. He said he is the kind of student who has a shot at getting into Harvard.

The suit alleges the university’s affirmative action program, meant to create more opportunities for minorities including Latinos and African-Americans, is keeping qualified Asian-Americans out of elite universities by creating a cap on the number of those students admitted.

Current U.S. law allows universities to consider race in college admissions, but only as a small part of the bigger picture. Asian-Americans make up about five percent of the U.S. population, but make up about 20 percent of the freshman class at Harvard.

“Asians by and large test higher in terms of academic scores, SAT and other things, and so the idea of people who brought the suit and other people that support it, is [that] without that cap there would be more Asians able to get into school,” Ted Gong, D.C. president of the Chinese American Citizens Alliance said. Gong is not affiliated with the lawsuit.

The suit was filed by Students for Fair Admissions, a group headed by a conservative activist with a long history of fighting affirmative action programs. The group has also filed a similar suit on behalf of a white student who was denied admission to the University of North Carolina.


Yascha Mounk of Harvard University discusses affirmative action programs

CCTV America interviewed Yascha Mounk, a PhD candidate in Harvard University’s Government Department, about the effectiveness of affirmative action programs.

Yascha Mounk of Harvard University discusses affirmative action programs

CCTV America interviewed Yascha Mounk, a PhD candidate in Harvard University's Government Department, about the effectiveness of affirmative action programs.