Asian-Americans consistently rated lower than other Harvard applicants on subjective categories like "courage," and the lower scoring decreased their chances of being accepted, according to a group representing students in a lawsuit against the school.
The New York Times reported Friday that the group claimed it analyzed more than 160,000 student records and found that Asian-Americans ranked lower on items like being “widely respected." The independent analysis claimed that Asian-American students ranked higher in test scores and extracurricular activities than others, the report said.
The school on Friday turned back the report, saying that its own “comprehensive” analysis showed no discrimination.
Asian-Americans who apply to Harvard University face the lowest acceptance rates, according to a study of admissions records filed Friday.
Students for Fair Admissions claims Harvard routinely assigns lower scores to Asian-American in ratings that puts them at a major disadvantage compared to white students.
Edward Blum, a legal strategist who founded the group, issued a statement saying his group's filing "exposes the startling magnitude of Harvard's discrimination."
Harvard blasted the study in an opposing court filing and submitted a countering study that found no evidence of bias. In a statement, the school called the lawsuit an attack on its ability to consider race in admissions, which it says is necessary to gather a racially diverse mix of students.
"Harvard will continue to vigorously defend our right, and that of other colleges and universities nationwide, to seek the educational benefits that come from a class that is diverse on multiple dimensions," the school said.
Harvard said that no statistical analysis could determine all the factors that go into the school’s admission process, according to The Times.
Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, a cancer physician, called the report a terrible story for the school.
“Americans (like my own children) are consistently rated "lacking in personality" (!!! ) whatever the subjective hell that means. Anti-Asian discrimination is not widely discussed, but is omnipresent,” he posted on Twitter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report