More than 60 Asian American Organizations File Complaint against Harvard University

By | May 15, 2015

Press Release

May 15, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Today, a coalition of more than 60 Asian American organizations jointly filed a complaint with the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and the Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Education, asking for a civil rights violation investigation of Harvard University’s discrimination against Asian American applicants. This is the largest joint action by Asian Americans for equal education rights in the past 20 years.

The coalition filed the complaint as a result of growing inequality in college admission for Asian Americans. Over the last two decades not only has the number of Asian-American applicants doubled, but also have their overall qualifications improved for admissions to America’s elite universities. However, the share of Asians at Harvard peaked at over 20% in 1993, then immediately declined and thereafter remained roughly constant at a level 3–5 percentage points lower.

In recent years, many studies have uncovered overwhelming evidence that Harvard (along with other Ivy League universities) has been engaged in systematic and continuous discrimination against Asian-Americans in the college admissions process, including:

1. Using racial stereotypes and racially differentiated standards.
2. Racial rebalancing, a de facto racial quota.
3. Using race well beyond merely a “plus” factor.

These discriminations are a clear violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution. It is one of the biggest civil rights issues that Asian Americans are facing today. Asian-American applicants are the most discriminated racial group by Ivy Leagues universities, more so than any other race.

The coalition of Asian American Associations include 64 Chinese, Indian, Korean and Pakistani organizations that have created significant impact in the last mid-term election, such as many grassroots political organizations in California and in Northeast; and those that are dedicated to children’s education, such as Chinese schools and Korean Parent Organizations. They are from Massachusetts, New York, Florida, Texas, California, Utah, and many other places across America.

The coalition of Asian American Associations request that the Department of Education and the Department of Justice conduct a thorough investigation on Harvard’s admission process and take immediate actions to require Harvard University and other Ivy League Universities to stop their discriminatory practices.

The complaint and other filings can be found at the following link:

Organizing Committee, Asian American Coalition