Discriminated by Ivy League schools, Asian American Civil Rights leader’s son filed complaints with the Department of Education

By | August 24, 2016

For Immediate Release

August 24, 2016

Livingston, New Jersey: Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) has issued the attached letter to Ms. Catherine Lhamon, Assistant Secretary of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Education. The letter requests her office to launch an immediate and objective investigation into a recent complaint filed by Hubert Zhao, an Orlando based Asian American student who was unfairly rejected by Columbia University and Cornell University.

Hubert is an outstanding student with excellent academic and extracurricular achievements. He achieved a GPA of 5.3 (4.0 if unweighted), and exceptional PSAT and SAT scores. His academic accomplishments were rewarded with a National Merit Scholarship. Hubert also excelled in extracurricular activities in a regular high school where coaching and resources are not competitive. He was the president and captain of his high school’s Science Olympiad, Debate, and Science Bowl teams. His FTC robotics team made it to the World Championship twice. Hubert also played soccer, had spent numerous hours volunteering at the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute and other organizations. Hubert was not a “typical” Asian science and math geek, but a socially active and conscious student leader. And yet, he was rejected as just another holistically excellent Asian American applicant when he applied to Ivy League schools.

It is worth pointing out, in his high school of 700 graduating students, only Hubert and another Indian-American student qualified as National Merit Semifinalists. However, neither of them was accepted by any of America’s top 20 ranked universities. Other students from different racial groups in his high school, with objectively and often significantly lower academic and extracurricular credentials, were admitted by some of those top 20 universities.

Mr. Jack Ouyang, Vice-president of AACE stated: “What happened to Hubert Zhao is another example of the widespread and systematic illegal discrimination against Asian American students by many colleges. The very fact that Hubert is the son of Mr. YuKong Zhao, the President of AACE, and that Hubert was rejected by all three Ivy League schools he applied to, raises a serious concern if Hubert was evaluated unfavorably by those Ivy League schools because of his father’s courageous act of leading Asian Americans’ fight against Ivy League schools’ discrimination on college admissions.” Mr. Ouyang added, “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 Colombia University and Cornell University to ensure that Hubert Zhao’s equal rights under the law are protected. Asian American communities demand an answer.”

Asian American Coalition for Education

Chunyan Li, lichunyan@yahoo.com, (973) 641-9011.
Swann Lee, swanleeca@gmail.com, (617) 906-6380

About the AACE:

The Asian American Coalition for Education (“AACE”) is a non-political, non-profit, national organization devoted to promoting equal rights for Asian-Americans in education and education-related activities. It is a grass-roots organization established by Asian-American parents. In May 2015, the founders of AACE united more than 60 Asian-American organizations to file a complaint with the Department of Justice and the Department of Education regarding Harvard University’s discriminatory treatment of Asian American applicants. It was one of the largest joint actions ever taken by Asian American organizations in pursuit of equal education rights. For more information check www.asianamericanforeducation.org