Over 290 Asian-American and Other American Organizations Jointly File an Amicus Brief Renewing Strong Opposition to Harvard’s Discriminatory Admissions Practices

By | February 26, 2020

For Immediate Release

February 26, 2020

Livingston, New Jersey:  On February 25, 2020,  representing 289 organizations (including 246 nonprofit associations and educational entities), the Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE), in collaboration with the Asian American Legal Foundation (AALF), filed an Amicus Brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to show our unwavering  support of the plaintiff (Students for Fair Admissions, SFFA) in its lawsuit against Harvard’s anti-Asian discrimination in admissions. Including new legal arguments against Federal Judge Burroughs’s decision in October 2019, this new amicus brief demonstrates solidarity with SFFA as it is appealing for a reversal of the case ruling at the Appeals Court.

For the first time, AACE has expanded its alliance to include a number of prominent non-Asian organizations, such as the American Civil Rights Institute and the California Association of Scholars. Once again, our unprecedented joint action conveys Asian-American communities’ consistent support and compelling demands for equal protection of the laws and for an end to Harvard’s unlawful discrimination. Although the SFFA legal team did an excellent job at trial in 2018 to demonstrate Harvard’s illegal uses of de facto racial quotas, racial stereotypes, and higher standards, the Federal District Court disregarded the overwhelming evidence and failed to apply constitutionally mandated “hostile scrutiny” in examining Harvard’s admissions.

In the brief, we argue that the Appeals Court should find Harvard’s use of race in admissions unlawful and should reverse the judgement of the district court. In the past, Asian Americans were singled out as faceless and inferior members of “yellow hordes” lacking the values and human attributes of other Americans. Presently, Harvard uses the same repellant pretext to justify its anti-Asian discrimination. In addition to negative stereotypes, Harvard’s racial-balancing program also defies the legal standards of “narrow tailoring” and “strict scrutiny”. The Harvard case is of particular importance because the school provides a model for discrimination that has been emulated by many other selective colleges and universities nationwide.

Harvard’s consistently low “Personal” ratings of Asian-American children are baseless and insulting. In our 2015 complaint against Harvard, AACE has provided ample data and facts detailing many Asian Americans’ inspiring accomplishments in entrepreneurship, technology innovations, arts, and sciences. Nonetheless, widespread anti-Asian discrimination in college admissions has caused grave injuries and imposed serious burdens on Asian-American communities, families, and students. As such, a deplorable example of social injustice is taking place in contemporary America! Harvard’s racial stereotyping and discrimination has no place in America and should be brought to an end.

Harvard’s use of race in college admissions is misguided and ineffective. It is at best a “Band-Aid” that conceals rather than addresses the real root causes behind a lack of diversity on many college campuses—the abysmal state of K-12 education in too many minority communities. The use of racial preferences in college admissions actually benefits more students from well-off and new immigrant families of racial minorities than those growing up in America’s disadvantaged communities. As a result of such failing policies, according to a New York Times article published on August 24, 2017, “Even with Affirmative Action, blacks and Hispanics are more underrepresented at top universities than 35 years ago.”

AACE president, Mr. Yukong Zhao said: “Federal Judge Burroughs’s earlier ruling on Harvard case was biased and must be corrected by the First Appeals Court. Harvard’s race-based admissions model is a modern-day social injustice done to Asian Americans by powerful institutions and the political establishment. It clearly undermines the spirit of the American Dream, which promises that each American citizen should have equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative. Today, by jointly filing this amicus brief, more than 290 organizations are sending 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!”

The link to the amicus brief: https://asianamericanforeducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/FINAL-AACE-AALF-Amicus-Brief.pdf.

Asian American Coalition for Education

Dr. Wenyuan Wu
, telephone: (786) 393-8028, email: admin@asianamericanforeducation.org.

Ms. Swann Lee, telephone: (617) 906-6380, email: swanleeca@gmail.com.

About the AACE:  www.asianamericanforeducation.org

Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE) is a non-political, nonprofit, grassroots national organization, the proven leader in fighting for Asian-American children’s equal educational rights. On May 15, 2015, the founders of AACE united 64 Asian-American organizations and jointly filed a civil rights complaint with the Department of Education (DOE) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to request that they conduct investigations into Harvard University’s discriminatory admissions practices against Asian-American applicants. As the largest joint action taken by Asian-American communities over the last few decades, this complaint is now being investigated by the Justice Department. Over the years, we have advanced the cause of equal education rights for the Asian-American community. In July 2018, the federal government adopted our policy recommendations by rescinding Obama era guidance that promoted racial balancing and acquiesced to racial discrimination in college admissions.