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Asian students sue Harvard, UNC claiming Latinos and blacks get preferential treatment in admissions

Pedestrians walk through a gate on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.

Pedestrians walk through a gate on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass.  ( AP/Elise Amendola)

Affirmative action policies at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been challenged in court.

The suit against Harvard alleges the university limits the number of Asian-Americans it admits each year, arguing that white, black, and Hispanic applicants are given racial preferences over better qualified Asian-American applicants.

The lawsuit against UNC alleges the university is not in compliance with a Supreme Court ruling that concluded colleges trying to diversify their student population should pursue "race-neutral alternatives" first, rather than race-based affirmative action policies.

The suits were filed Monday in Boston and Greensboro, North Carolina, by the Project on Fair Representation.

The plaintiff in both lawsuits is Students for Fair Admissions, a nonprofit whose members include students and parents.

The universities did not respond to requests for comment.

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