Gama Times

Harvard University, one of the most prestigious institutions in the world, has been facing intense scrutiny over its admissions practices in recent years. The institution has come under fire for its use of affirmative action policies and the consideration of applicants’ legacies. These practices have sparked a lawsuit by the Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), which alleges that Harvard’s admissions process discriminates against Asian-American applicants. This article delves into the legacy scrutiny that Harvard is currently facing and provides an overview of the ongoing lawsuit.


Harvard’s legacy admissions policy involves giving preferential treatment to applicants who have family ties to the university, such as parents or grandparents who attended Harvard. Proponents argue that legacy admissions help foster a sense of tradition and loyalty within the Harvard community. However, critics argue that this practice perpetuates privilege and creates an uneven playing field for applicants who do not have legacy connections.


The Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), led by Edward Blum, filed a lawsuit against Harvard University in 2014, claiming that the institution’s admissions policies discriminate against Asian-American applicants. The lawsuit alleges that Harvard intentionally limits the number of Asian-American students it admits by using subjective criteria and rating applicants on personality traits that disadvantage Asian-American applicants. The SFFA argues that this practice violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin.


The lawsuit against Harvard has garnered significant attention, with both sides presenting compelling arguments. During the trial, Harvard defended its admissions process, stating that it considers a wide range of factors beyond test scores and grades. The university highlighted the importance of diversity and argued that a holistic approach to admissions helps create a well-rounded student body.

In contrast, the SFFA presented statistical evidence suggesting that Asian-American applicants receive lower personal ratings compared to applicants of other racial backgrounds. The SFFA argued that this rating system unfairly penalizes Asian-American students and limits their chances of admission.

The case has sparked widespread debate about affirmative action, race-conscious admissions, and the role of legacy admissions in elite universities. Supporters of affirmative action argue that it is necessary to promote diversity and address historical inequalities. They believe that a diverse student body enriches the educational experience and prepares students for a multicultural society.

Opponents, on the other hand, argue that affirmative action can lead to reverse discrimination and should be based solely on merit. They question the fairness of legacy admissions and argue that a candidate’s qualifications should be the sole determining factor in the admissions process.

Harvard University’s admissions practices, particularly its use of legacy admissions, have faced intense scrutiny in recent years. The ongoing lawsuit by the Students for Fair Admissions challenges the university’s affirmative action policies and alleges discrimination against Asian-American applicants. As the case continues, the outcome will have significant implications for the future of admissions practices at Harvard and other universities across the United States.

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