Ruling on Harvard Admissions

In 2014, Harvard College was sued by the group Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), founded by Edward Blum, an anti-affirmative action activist. Blum and SFFA have a history of litigation targeting civil rights protections. The lawsuit alleged that Harvard College discriminated against Asian-American applicants based on their race.

In 2019, Federal Judge Allison D. Burroughs ruled in favor of Harvard, upholding Harvard’s admissions policy and ruling that the University’s admissions policy does not discriminate on the basis of race, does not use racial quotas, and does not over-emphasize race when considering an applicant’s admissions file.

In a letter to the Harvard community following the ruling, President Larry Bacow wrote:

“The consideration of race, alongside many other factors, helps us achieve our goal of creating a diverse student body that enriches the education of every student. Everyone admitted to Harvard College has something unique to offer our community, and today we reaffirm the importance of diversity — and everything it represents to the world.”

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Historical Context