Affirmative Action and Harvard’s Bias Against Asian-Americans

By Mirabella Booth

Michael Wang had an SAT score of 2230 (out of a possible 2400), a 4.67 weighted GPA, and a plethora of extracurricular activities. He was waitlisted and then rejected by Harvard and other Ivy League schools in 2013. He believes that was because of his race.

Wang is one of hundreds of Asian-Americans behind a lawsuit which alleges that Harvard discriminates against Asian-American applicants, holding them to a higher standard than students of other races and using an illegal racial quota system.

If you take a look at Harvard’s freshman classes they appear extremely similar from year to year. This gives reason to believe that Harvard is using a quota system, or racial balancing, which would be illegal under federal law.

The plaintiffs argue that if admissions were based on academics alone, Harvard would accept twice as many Asian-Americans. Take the SATs for example, Asian-Americans score an average 25 points higher than white applicants, 217 points higher than African-American applicants, and 153 points higher than Hispanic applicants.

While there are other factors taken into consideration in the college admissions process such as athletics, extracurriculars, and personality; if Harvard were to admit less qualified individuals over more qualified Asian-Americans, this would be a classic case of the use of affirmative action in college admissions. Affirmative action refers to admission policies that provide equal access to education for those groups that have been historically excluded or underrepresented, such as women and minorities. While affirmative action might create a more diverse student body, it isn’t an accurate representation of the best of the best, which is what the student body of a prestigious school such as Harvard should embody. Harvard should ask themselves: Do they want to be equal or fair?