The Justice Department threw its hat into a bitter fight over Harvard's admission practices, and now the ACLU is getting involved

Scott Eisen/Getty ImagesPedestrians in Harvard Yard at Harvard University building on August 30, 2018 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The U.S. Justice Department sided with Asian-Americans suing Harvard over admissions policy.
  • The Department of Justice indicated that it supports a group of Asian American students who sued Harvard University over its admissions practices.
  • The lawsuit alleges that a component of Harvard’s admissions process that takes into consideration an applicant’s ethnic background unfairly sidelines Asian students. Harvard has denied that claim.
  • The DOJ has previously made clear its objections to affirmative-action practices on college campuses.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union called the DOJ’s latest move an attempt to “dismantle progress in racial equity.”

The Department of Justice indicated that it supports a group of Asian American students who sued Harvard University over its admissions practices.

The lawsuit alleges that a component of Harvard’s admissions process that takes into consideration an applicant’s ethnic background unfairly sidelines Asian students. Harvard has denied the claim.

The school says its consideration of an applicant’s heritage is part of a holistic approach to application reviews, but says it does not employ racial quotas.

The DOJ has previously made clear its objections to affirmative-action practices on college campuses.

The American Civil Liberties Union rushed to Harvard’s defence on Thursday, calling the DOJ’s interjection an attempt to “dismantle progress in racial equity.”

“The Trump administration has advocated for “race-blind” policies, which Harvard and virtually all other universities have found are demonstrably insufficient to achieve meaningful diversity, given the reality of historic and continuing racial discrimination in this country,” the ACLU said in a press release sent out on Thursday.

The lawsuit, originally filed in 2014, is set to go to trial in October.

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