Harvard Faces New Scrutiny Over Alleged Bias Against Asian-American Applicants

The Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating a discrimination complaint against Harvard University filed by an Asian-American applicant rejected for admission to the current freshman class, Bloomberg News reports. The civil-rights office similarly examined Harvard for alleged bias against Asian-Americans in the late 1980s. Although that investigation concluded that Harvard admitted Asian-Americans at a lower rate than white applicants with similar qualifications, the office attributed its finding not to illegal discrimination, but to Asian-Americans’ underrepresentation in two pools of applicants that Harvard legally gave preferential treatment: recruited athletes and the children of alumni. Since 2006, the civil-rights office has been investigating Princeton University based on a similar complaint filed by an Asian-American student who alleged discrimination after being denied admission there.

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