On Thursday morning, the U.S. Department of Justice filed court documents siding with Asian-American students who claim Harvard University is discriminating against them for their race in the admissions process.
Students for Fair Admissions filed the suit in federal court in Massachusetts, Fox News reports.
“No American should be denied admission to school because of their race. As a recipient of taxpayer dollars, Harvard has a responsibility to conduct its admissions policy without racial discrimination by using meaningful admissions criteria that meet lawful requirements,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. “The Department of Justice has the responsibility to protect the civil rights of the American people. This case is significant because the admissions policies at our colleges and universities are important and must be conducted lawfully.”
Though Harvard is a private institution, it does receive millions of taxpayers’ dollars every year.
The DOJ urged the court to allow the plaintiffs to have the opportunity to go to trial, saying they “presented compelling evidence that Harvard’s use of race unlawfully discriminated against Asian Americans.”
Earlier this summer, Harvard defended their practice of considering race as a factor in admissions, telling Fox News, “Harvard will continue to vigorously defend its right, and that of all colleges and universities, to consider race as one factor among many in college admissions, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court for more than 40 years.”
Harvard consistently lowered Asian-American applicants’ “personal rating” in order to decrease the impact of their scores for academic performance and testing, National Review reports.