Our Impact

Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) is the proven leader in fighting for equal education rights for Asian-American children. What follows are some of the things we’ve accomplished in pursuit of that goal。

May 15, 2015, the founders of AACE united 64 Chinese-American, Indian-American, Korean-American, Pakistani-American and other Asian-American organizations and jointly filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Education and Department of Justice to request that they conduct an investigation into Harvard University’s discriminatory admissions practices against Asian-American applicants. The founders of AACE also successfully held a news conference at the National Press Club of Washington DC and a satellite news conference in Irvine, California, and met Congresswomen Grace Meng and Virginia Foxx, and Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who personally spoke at our news conference.

May15-June 30, 2015, more than 60 news reports from the U.S., Asia, Europe, Oceania and Middle East covered AACE’s complaint against Harvard. More than 20 editorials were published in English-language newspapers. On June 5, 2015, Wall Street Journal published an interview with Mr. Yukong Zhao, Chair of AACE Organizing Committee. This is the most comprehensive and in-depth interview on this subject in years by America’s #1 newspaper.

June 22, 2015, US House Representatives Ed Royce, Dana Rohrabacher, Pete Olson, Glenn Grothman, and Dan Donovan issued a letter to Department of Education and Department of Justice in support of our complaint.

June 25, 2015, AACE received a letter from Department of Education, dismissing the complaint, citing the reason that there is an ongoing lawsuit against Harvard by Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. AACE vows to continue our fight for equal education rights.

July 20, 2015, in response to a call from AACE, an Asian-American father in New England filed a complaint with OCR against Yale University, Columbia University, Duke University, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, the University of Chicago and Amherst College. All nine schools unfairly rejected her and she attended college abroad. More than 16 of her non-Asian classmates with lower grades, test scores and equivalent or less impressive extracurricular accomplishments were accepted into Ivy League or other top schools. This case is merely one example of the severe and widespread discrimination against Asian-American applicants.

August 4, 2015, Members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus— Representatives Judy Chu, Robert C. “Bobby” Scott, Michael Honda, Mark Takano, Grace Meng, Ted Lieu and Mark Takai—issued a letter to Department of Justice in support of our complaint against Harvard.

September 3, 2015, in response to a call from AACE, an Asian-American father in Florida filed a complaint with OCR against Harvard University. According to the father, his son is truly an outstanding student on every respect, not only excelling academically and at sports, but also performing a lot of community service and winning several national competitions in economics and rocketry. Yet he was still unfairly rejected by Harvard due to his being Asian. The top four of his graduating class at a Florida high school, were Asian-Americans. Not a single one got accepted by any elite university in the U.S. At the same time, five non-Asian students were accepted by Ivy League schools, a fact that cries out for an explanation as their combined academic and personal qualifications were clearly not as good.

September 10, 2015, representing 117 Asian American organizations, AACE and Asian American Legal Foundation jointly filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court urging a total ban of racial discrimination in college admissions. This document was filed in support of the petitioner in Fisher vs University of Texas case.

September 28, 2015, AACE issued a letter to Ms. Catherine Lhamon, Assistant Secretary of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education, rejecting the conclusion in OCR’s September 9, 2015 letter to Princeton University concerning the alleged discrimination against Asian American students. In this letter, OCR fails to examine whether or not Princeton University’s use of race has unduly burdened Asian-American applicants, which is essential to comply with relevant Supreme Court rulings. Based on OCR’s flawed methods and unexplainable omission of Michael Wang’s complaint, AACE requests that OCR to reopen the investigation of Princeton University by using rigorous and credible statistical methods to investigate all pending complaints.

December 9, 2015, on the day when the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Fisher vs UT. AACE organized a demonstration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting equal education rights for all students and urging a total ban on racial discrimination in college admissions.

January 31, 2016, AACE issued a policy statement, rejecting the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s report “Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good through College Admission.” The report proposed drastic changes in the college admission process across America by lowering academic requirements and improperly emphasizing a narrowly defined “ethical engagement” admission criterion. Though welcoming some of its recommendations, AACE believes that Harvard’s proposed changes will significantly reduce America’s educational and economic competitiveness and harm the country’s high-tech industry. In particular, Asian Americans are deeply concerned about their becoming victims of Harvard’s proposed changes because, if they are implemented, they will drastically increase the subjectivity and opacity of the college admission process.

May 23, 2016, representing 132 Chinese-American, Indian-American, Korean-American, Pakistani-American, Japanese-American and other Asian-American American organizations all over the nation, AACE officially submitted an administrative complaint to the Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice and the Office for Civil Rights, Department of Education to request that they conduct an investigation into the admissions processes of Yale University, Brown University and Dartmouth College for their discriminatory practices against Asian-American applicants. In the afternoon, the delegation of AACE held a successful news conference at the National Press Club of Washington DC. U.S. Representative Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, personally attended the conference delivered a powerful speech in support of our efforts.

May 23-June 10, 2016, AACE’s complaint against Yale University, Brown University and Dartmouth College received extensive news coverage from NPR, NBC, Wall Street Journal, CBS, Fortune, Huffington Post, Inside Higher Education, The World Journal, SinoVision and 50 more media outlets in the United States and Asia. Significantly, former Dartmouth admission officer, Dr. Michele Hernandez, published an article that revealed severe discrimination against Asian American students by Ivy League schools.

June 23, 2016, AACE released a statement, calling the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on Fisher vs University of Texas as a dark day for the hard-working children of Asian Americans and other Americans who are discriminated against by race-based college admissions policies. AACE President Mr. YukKong Zhao said: “Asian American communities are extremely disappointed by today’s Supreme Court ruling because it fails to reflect the equal protection and color-blind spirit of the U.S. Constitution. However, I would like to point out today’s ruling is not a green-light for Ivy League schools and other colleges to use racial quotas, racial stereotypes, just-for-Asian higher-standards and other unlawful practices to blatantly discriminate against Asian American children in the college admissions process. Such discrimination is clearly illegal, as AACE’s complaints make clear. AACE will continue our fight against such discrimination until our children are no longer judged by their skin-color, as Dr. Martin Luther King once dreamed.”

August 24, 2016, AACE Vice President Jack Ouyang issued a letter to Ms. Catherine Lhamon, Assistant Secretary of the Department of Education in support the individual complaint filed by Mr. Hubert Zhao against Columbia University and Cornell University. With GPA of 5.3, Hubert Zhao not only received a National Merit Scholarship, but served as president of both science and debate teams, went to the world championships of a robotics competition twice and spent numerous hours volunteering at a hospital and other organizations. Mr. Ouyang said, “The members of AACE are outraged by such blatant discrimination. Mr. Yukong Zhao’s child is not alone—tens of thousands of talented Asian American children are treated as second class citizens who are less ‘diverse’ solely because of their race. OCR must launch an impartial investigation into the admissions processes of Columbia University and Cornell University to ensure that Hubert Zhao’s equal rights under the law are protected. ”

November 30, 2016, after learning that President Elect Trump started the process of soliciting citizens’ suggestions on how to move America forward, AACE called upon Asian American parents and concerned citizens to go to President Elected’s website, asking the Trump Administration to ban the illegal use of race in college admissions and to ensure that all Americans, regardless of their race, have equal education rights.

Spring, 2017, the leaders of AACE traveled to multiple cities to meet with the U.S. Government officials and other policy influencers. They further clarified the relevant laws and facts regarding discriminatory admission practices of Harvard and other Ivy League colleges and urged the U.S. Government to take appropriate actions to protect Asian American children’s constitutional rights.

Summer, 2017, in response to a call from AACE, one Asian American student joined our complaint against Yale University; the other filed an individual complaint against Ivy League colleges with the Department of Education.

August 4, 2017, AACE issued a statement, welcoming the U.S. Department of Justice’s plan to investigate Harvard University. The statement said: “It is long overdue to the Asian American community, who follows the laws, works hard and has been making tremendous contribution to American economic prosperity and technology leadership in the world. We expect that the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education will take concrete actions to help restore the spirit of American Dream: reward individual efforts and merits, and treat all individuals equally.”

August 15, 2017, in response to a recent Washington Post’s opinion piece claiming that Asian Americans’ complaint against discrimination is “used” by conservatives, AACE Board Director Henry Yang published an Op-Ed on popular website The Daily Caller refuting that claim. Mr. Yang argued that “after enduring decades of open and widespread discrimination in college admissions, Asian Americans finally woke up and started fighting for our equal educational rights. We are not used by anyone, instead we are standing on our own feet, fighting for our own rights.”

August 29, 2017, AACE issued a statement, condemning Senator Feinstein and other Democratic Members of the U.S. Congress for their baseless and bigoted intervention of the proposed Department of Justice’s investigation of Harvard University. AACE calls this letter as politically motivated, only illustrates their ignorance of relevant laws, underlying facts and disregard of the Constitution of the United States of America.

October 3, 2017, Mr. YuKong Zhao, the President of AACE, attended the Education Writer
Association’s panel discussion on “Affirmative Action’s Next Big Test,” in which Mr. Zhao explained to attending education journalists that the U.S. Supreme Court has banned the use of racial quotas, racial stereotypes and higher standards that unduly harm Asian Americans. He provided compelling evidence from reputable researchers, former Ivy League admissions officers and Asian American students to illustrate that Ivy League schools and other colleges’ discriminatory admission practices against Asian American children are illegal violations of Supreme Court laws, and need to be stopped. Mr. Zhao also emphasized that unlike other ideologically driven Asian organizations, AACE is fighting for our children’s interest, their constitutional rights to pursue their American dreams.

November 3, 2017, AACE issued a letter, urging Common Application Organization stop its dividing of Asian American applicants into 10 subcategories in the Common Application. In a statement issued by AACE, its President Mr. YuKong Zhao said: “All children, either born or naturalized in America, are American citizens and should be treated equally. The subdivision of Asian American applicants in Common Application is discriminatory, immoral and divisive. It only enables some colleges to discriminate against hardworking and high-performing Asian American students. The Common Application Organization should immediately stop this discriminatory practice. All Asian American applicants should reject this unauthorized intrusion of their privacy and refuse to select these divisive subcategories.”

November 3, 2017, AACE issued a statement, strongly denouncing the racist campaign mailers recently sent out during Edison (NJ) Board of Education campaign. It says, “As an Asian American organization that champions equal rights for all Americans, we are totally shocked and disgusted by the hateful mailers happened during Edison Board of Education election. ..Mr. Shi and Ms. Patel’s participation in school board election illustrates their great hearts to serve the local community, and to share proven Asian American education experiences to help children of all racial backgrounds. Their patriotism and spirit of citizenship should not be viciously attacked and intimidated!”

November 22, 2017, AACE issued a statement, applauding U.S Department of Justice’s investigation of Harvard University and urging all American colleges to treat Asian American applicants fairly and lawfully. Mr. YuKong Zhao, the president of AACE said: “It has been more than 10 years since the first Asian American student filed a complaint against Ivy League schools’ discriminatory admission practices. Today, we finally saw that the U.S. government is taking concrete action to strive for equal protection of the laws to Asian American children. This sends a strong signal to many other universities: Please stop unlawful admission practices; treat Asian American students fairly and lawfully. .. Our children deserve to have equal rights to pursue their American dreams!”

March 5, 2018, led by Mr. Yukong Zhao, an AACE delegation formally presented our policy recommendations on college admissions to officials in the federal government, including Ms. Holly Ham, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Initiative, and Mr. William E. Trachman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Development at U.S. Department Of Education Office for Civil Rights. In the AACE Policy Recommendations document, AACE requests the federal government to prohibit the use of racial quotas, racial stereotypes and higher admissions standards that unduly harm Asian American children. AACE also requests that the federal government rescind Obama-era guidelines which promoted racial balancing and condoned discrimination against Asian American children in college admissions.

May 28, 2018, AACE issued a statement, commending Dr. Althea Nagai’s report on elite colleges’ anti-Asian discrimination in admissions as critical research that identifies an insurmountable ceiling for Asian Americans seeking prestigious education. After attending a panel discussion on that report co-hosted by the Federalist Society and the Center for Equal Opportunity on May 22, 2018, Mr. Yukong Zhao, the president of AACE commented: ““Selective universities’ blatant discrimination against Asian-American students is also immoral. Our children should not have to conceal their heritage in college applications in order to pursue their American dreams. Hard-working and multifariously proficient, they are as deserving as others in their pursuits of higher education opportunities.”

June 6, 2018, AACE issued a statement, denouncing New York Mayor de Blasio’s proposal to phase out the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) as politically motivated, unconstitutional, and unjust. The statement also sharply pinpoints the de Blasio plan as a gross cover-up for his administration’s failures to improve educational quality for New York’s black and Latino communities. Mr. Yukong Zhao, the president of AACE said: “De Balsio’s proposal is just another attempt by cowardly politicians to use racial balancing to cover up their devastating failures in providing basic education to black and Hispanic children. Regrettably, they always use hardworking Asian American children as their scapegoat. We shall not allow this practice to prevail.”

June 15, 2018, AACE issued a statement, condemning Harvard’s systematic and blatant discrimination against Asian-American children after Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) disclosed unequivocal evidence of Harvard’s de facto racial quotas, racial stereotypes, and higher standards. Mr. Yukong Zhao, the President of AACE said: “Asian-American communities are outraged by such appalling and blatant racial discrimination committed by Harvard. What SFFA discovered is just a tip of the iceberg… AACE demands that all American colleges strictly observe the U.S Supreme Court rulings and stop unlawful discrimination against Asian American children!”

July 3, 2018, AACE issued a statement, applauding the Trump Administration’s education policy reform to systematically roll back an Obama-era policy guidance that promoted the heightened use of race in college admissions and to issue new guidance. Recognizing the reform as a triumphant moment for Asian-American communities, Mr. Yukong Zhao, the President of AACE commented: “If the new policy is faithfully implemented, American colleges can no longer use unlawful racial quotas, racial stereotypes and higher standards to discriminate against our children. This will significantly reduce a major barrier in these students’ pursuits of the American Dream.”

July 30, 2018, representing 156 Asian American organizations, AACE in collaboration with Asian American Legal Foundation (AALF), filed an Amicus Brief with the United States District Court in Boston to oppose Harvard University’s discriminatory admissions practices and to support the plaintiff (Students for Fair Admissions, SFFA) in its lawsuit against Harvard University. This joint action presents Asian-American communities’ compelling demands for equal protection of the laws and for the end to Harvard’s unlawful discrimination. Mr. Yukong Zhao, the President of AACE, said:” The very fact that more than 150 Asian-American organizations co-signed our amicus brief sends a strong message to Harvard and other likeminded colleges: Asian-American communities are united behind our children’s constitutional rights. Your discriminatory admissions practices need to stop!”

August 30, 2018, AACE issued a statement, applauding the U.S. Department of Justice’s Statement of Interest supporting Asian Americans’ fight against Harvard’s discriminatory admissions practices. Hailing the statement as a responsible government move to provide equal protection of the laws to Asian American children, AACE is pleased and encouraged that the U.S. government has taken an affirmative stance siding with Asian Americans’ civil rights fight against Harvard. Mr. Yukong Zhao, the President of AACE said, “The Department of Justice has done an outstanding job in defending fairness and justice for Asian-American children, as well as in safeguarding the spirit of American Dream.”

August 30, 2018, AACE issued a letter to Chancellor Carol Christ of University of California (UC), Berkeley to denounce her blatant promotion of racial quotas during her August 20 welcome address and to urge her to reverse the illegal and unconstitutional racial balancing. AACE is particularly concerned about a 10-year goal outlined in the Christ plan to shift UC Berkley into a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), which equates to making its student population at least 25% Hispanic. Mr. Yukong Zhao, the President of AACE said: “The University of California, Berkeley is a public educational institution receiving government financial assistance on both federal and state levels. As such, the university must comply with pertinent federal and state laws as well as relevant government guidance on higher education.”

September 26, 2018, in response to AACE’s civil-rights complaint filed in May 2016, the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice started a joint investigation of Yale University’s discriminatory admissions practices against Asian-American applicants. AACE issued a statement to applaud the government’s action. Mr. Yukong Zhao, the president of AACE said: “As one of the smallest racial groups who has marginal political power, Asian American communities are truly grateful to the Trump Administration for protecting our children’s constitutional rights. OCR’s investigation of Yale University sends a strong message to many other American colleges: Please stop your unlawful admission practices and treat Asian-American students fairly and lawfully.”

October 3, 2018, as an official response to AACE’s letter of August 30, 2018,U.C. Berkeley’s Assistant Vice Chancellor, Dan Mogulof sent a letter to AACE, reinstating the school’s commitment to complying with the law and upholding meritorious enrollment in its admissions practices. AACE welcomes U.C. Berkley’s pledge not to engage in racial discrimination of any kind and to prohibit racial quotas in admissions, specifically. Moving forward, Mr. Yukong Zhao, the president of AACE said: ”AACE will vigorously protect Asian-American children’s equal education rights by continuously monitoring U.C. Berkley’s future developments with regard to admissions.”

October 14, 2018, in collaboration with 15 other Asian-American organizations, AACE successfully organized a historical rally in Boston to protest Harvard University’s blatant discrimination against Asian-American children and to support SFFA’s (Students for Fair Admissions) lawsuit against Harvard. In this rally, community leader representatives with Chinese, Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, Bangladesh, Caucasian and black backgrounds made inspirational speeches, condemning Harvard University’s anti-Asian discrimination in admissions and expressing unwavering support to SFFA. Meanwhile, over 10 students spoke passionately at the rally, challenging the kind of unlawful discrimination imposed by Harvard and many other universities nationwide. Hundreds of people attended the rally and thousands of supporters watched the live-streamed video all over the nation. The event was also covered positively by major news media such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Our records have proven: AACE is the most effective and impactful civil-rights organization fighting for Asian American interests.