Harvard Dean Of Admissions Takes Stand After Dueling Racial Bias Protests

Neetu Chandak | Education and Politics Reporter
  • Two opposing rallies gathered in Boston as Harvard University’s dean of admissions William Fitzsimmons will take the stand Monday.
  • The Asian American Coalition for Education hosted a rally in support of Students for Fair Admissions’s lawsuit against Harvard, alleging the school uses higher standards against Asian-American applicants.
  • #DefendDiversity held a rally in support of affirmative action policies about four miles away.

Hundreds of protesters advocating for either affirmative action or merit-based admissions held rallies in Boston Sunday before Harvard University’s dean of admissions will take the stand on a racial bias case Monday.

Asian American Coalition for Education (AACE), along with other groups in support of eliminating race-based admissions, hosted a rally in Copley Square on Sunday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

AACE organized the rally to support the Student for Fair Admissions’s (SFFA) lawsuit against HarvardSFFA is a non-profit against race-based admissions and has over 20,000 members, according to the group’s website.

The lawsuit against Harvard was first brought up by SFFA in 2014, accusing the school for holding Asian-Americans to higher standards in the admissions process. Harvard has denied the allegations.

SFFA president Ed Blum was one of the speakers, and was greeted by Chinese parents with “Thank you, Ed Blum,” WSJ reported.

“Look at my children,” pro-SFFA protester and parent Sunny Zhao said, The Harvard Crimson reported. “Look at the people here’s children. Our children study so hard. Their hard work is not as appreciated. Why? It’s just because we are Asian. That’s unfair.”

#DefendDiversity was the countering rally held about four miles from Copley Square in Harvard Square. This rally was composed of Harvard students and others who wanted to keep affirmative action.


“I worried about how my average and sometimes mediocre test scores would look for an Asian-American applicant,” one #DefendDiversity supporter said in a video posted to Twitter. “But I was comforted by transparent, holistic admissions policies that take into consideration more than just our scores.”

The demonstration in Copley Square lasted over four hours while the rally in Harvard Square was nearly two hours. The rallies come as Harvard will defend its use of affirmative action in a Boston federal court in front of Judge Allison D. Burroughs, according to The Crimson.

Dean of admissions William Fitzsimmons is expected to be the first witness after opening statements on Monday, according to The WSJ. The trial is expected to last three weeks.

AACE hopes the Boston Federal Court will find Harvard guilty for “using de facto ratio quotas, racial stereotypes and higher admissions standards” against Asian-Americans or other racial groups, according to AACE President Yukong Zhao in an email to The Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: The Trump Administration Is Going After Harvard’s Affirmative Action Policies)

“By using race as a factor in college admissions, universities are sending a wrong message that human beings are not born as equal,” Zhao told TheDCNF. “A student’s skin color or national origin are still a major barrier for their pursuit of the American Dream. Some scholars have called it a modern day Jim Crow. We cannot believe that such social injustice is still happening in America in the 21st century.”

Over 50 percent of the average admitted class to Harvard would be composed of Asian-American students if admissions was based only on academics, The Crimson reported.

Harvard did not immediately respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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