I hope the judge orders that any use of "racial boxes" be ended.

Arguments Over How to Prove Racial Bias Drive Final Day at Harvard Trial
By Nicole Hong
Wall Street Journal
November 2, 2018


Friday’s closing arguments focused on a central question: Does Harvard’s admissions process impose an illegal penalty on Asian-American applicants because of their race?

Harvard’s lawyers said no, arguing the institution’s data showed there was a slight, positive effect on the likelihood of admission for Asian Americans who were women or from California. Both sides also agreed Harvard didn’t racially discriminate against Asian American legacies. And Harvard says it gives preference to low-income applicants of all races, including Asian Americans.

“If there was discriminatory animus,” said William Lee, a lawyer for Harvard, “why would it be directed only to certain categories of Asian-American applicants?”

The plaintiffs’ lawyers said it was possible to discriminate against a group’s subset, such as against pregnant women on the basis of their sex.

Harvard’s own internal reports from 2013 concluded being Asian American hurt an applicant’s likelihood of admission, the plaintiffs said. They said Harvard’s admissions dean ignored those conclusions and failed to investigate further, which they called evidence of intentional discrimination. Harvard said those reports were preliminary and incomplete.


Harvard’s lawyers said race is only used as a preference among the most competitive applicants, in the same way exceptional musical talent can make a difference in admissions.

If the judge finds Harvard liable on any counts, she then would determine a remedy. The plaintiffs originally sought to prohibit Harvard from considering race in future admissions decisions.

In his opening statement, an attorney for the plaintiffs suggested the judge could remedy any disparate treatment of white and Asian-American applicants by ordering Harvard to group them into the same racial box during admissions.