Harvard investigated over 'racist' admissions process

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Harvard University is under investigation over claims it discriminates against Asian-American applicants.

The US Department of Justice has confirmed it is investigating the Ivy League university after a complaint filed by a coalition of Asian-American groups in 2015.

The complaint alleges that the school was capping the number of high-achieving Asian-American students as part of “racial balancing” that favours African Americans and Hispanics.

Asian-American applicants, who were applying in greater numbers than ever before were held to a tougher academic criteria, it claimed.

Harvard has denied the allegations.

The news comes amid reports the Trump administration is preparing to direct its focus on affirmative action policies, targeting universities whose admissions policies are deemed to discriminate against white applicants.

According to The Times, a group calling itself Students for Fair Admissions began legal action against Harvard, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 2014.

It alleged that admissions officers were deploying “the same brand of invidious discrimination against Asian-Americans that it formerly used to limit the number of Jewish students in its student body”.

The Coalition of Asian-American Associations submitted a letter to the Department of Education in May 2015.

That complaint has now been taken up by the Department of Justice.

Edward Blum, the president of Students for Fair Admissions and a long-time campaigner against affirmative action, said that his group had gathered evidence that “African-Americans and Hispanics and whites all benefit from the quotas and discrimination that Asians suffer at Harvard”.

Melodie Jackson, a Harvard spokeswoman, said in a statement last week: “Harvard remains committed to enrolling diverse classes of students.

“Harvard’s admissions process considers each applicant as a whole person, and we review many factors.”

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