Asian American Groups File Discrimination Complaint Against 3 Ivy League Universities

Posted By Eliana Osborn on June 16, 2016 at 9:20 am
Asian American Groups File Discrimination Complaint Against 3 Ivy League Universities

Affirmative action policies have been in front of the Supreme Court this year, but there’s even more involved in race aware admissions. Some students are complaining that they are being unfairly disadvantaged in college enrollment because they are Asian American.

This isn’t the first time grievances have been filed over the subject. The Department of Education Office of Civil Rights closed a case involving Princeton University in September 2015. The government investigated two complaints from 2008 over bias against Asian-American students, concluding there was not sufficient evidence to prove that Title VI standards had been violated.

Princeton and other universities claim that race is considered for admissions, as allowed by law, but never in a discriminatory manner; it looks at many student qualities in an attempt to build a diverse, interesting student class.

The Asian American Coalition for Education, along with more than 130 other groups, filed the new civil rights complaint on May 23, 2016, against three universities: Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth. In their press release, AACE seeks intervention to “require the three colleges and other Ivy League universities to cease their discriminatory practices, including the use of racial quotas, racially-differentiated admission standards, racial stereotypes, and other unlawful admissions criteria.”

The concern is that Asian American students, with exceptional test scores and grades, are being kept out of top universities because of their race in an attempt to diversify campus makeup. Some Asian American groups disagree, supporting the concept of affirmative action and acknowledging how it has benefited a wide variety of ethnic groups.

The Supreme Court has allowed race to be part of the college admissions process, as long as it is not the only consideration. The idea of a holistic view of students—not just numbers on a page—can include many factors, such as family background, extracurricular activities, and even race.

Educational Testing Services (ETS) released four studies in April regarding race-based admissions alternatives. The results are disheartening: none of the efforts have been successful at diversifying campuses.

College admissions is a high-pressure game for students and schools alike. While universities have a right to keep their formulas for admission proprietary, today’s society is one where most information is readily available. To not know the criteria necessary to get into the school of your dreams—or to be unable to get in, no matter what you do—is frustrating for many students.

Eliana Osborn
Eliana Osborn is an associate English professor at Arizona Western College, with degrees from Brigham Young University and Northern Arizona University. She’s published widely in forums such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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