Harvard gives Asian-Americans lower personality ratings than other races, lawsuit claims

Harvard gives Asian-Americans lower personality ratings than other races, lawsuit claims
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A new lawsuit filed in federal court on Friday claims Harvard regularly ranked Asian-American applicants' personality traits lower than any other race, according to The New York Times.

The report says that, according to analysis of more than 160,000 student records, Asian-Americans were consistently rated lower on characteristics such as "positive personality," likability, courage, kindness and being "widely respected." 

The analysis conducted by Students for Fair Admissions, the group that filed the lawsuit, says that Asian-Americans had higher numbers than any other racial or ethnic group when it came to test scores, grades and extracurricular activities. But the personality ratings drastically reduced their chances of getting admitted. 

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“It turns out that the suspicions of Asian-American alumni, students and applicants were right all along,” the group said in a court document, according to the Times. “Harvard today engages in the same kind of discrimination and stereotyping that it used to justify quotas on Jewish applicants in the 1920s and 1930s.”

Documents regarding Harvard's admission standards were unsealed on Friday for the first time as part of a lawsuit that argues Harvard systematically discriminates against Asian-Americans in its admissions. Discriminating in admissions is a violation of civil rights law.

Harvard responded on Friday, saying its own analysis concluded they do not discriminate in their admissions.

“Thorough and comprehensive analysis of the data and evidence makes clear that Harvard College does not discriminate against applicants from any group, including Asian-Americans, whose rate of admission has grown 29 percent over the last decade,” Harvard said in a statement.  

Harvard's admission standards have faced increasing scrutiny in recent years as debates around affirmative action policies take place across the country. In November 2017, the Department of Justice announced that it was probing how race factors in to Harvard University's admissions process.