35 Asian American groups and higher education faculty file amicus brief in support of race-conscious admissions at Harvard

The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) and 34 Asian American groups and higher education faculty today filed an amicus “friend of the court” brief in Massachusetts federal court, opposing a challenge to Harvard’s race-conscious admissions policy (Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) v. Harvard).

“Asian Americans are an extremely diverse population with more than 50 ethnic groups, 100 languages, and a broad range of immigration, socioeconomic, and educational backgrounds,” said Margaret Fung, AALDEF executive director. “Instead of treating Asian Americans as a monolithic group, the individualized race-conscious admissions process at Harvard helps to create a more diverse student body that benefits all students, including Asian Americans.”

The plaintiff organization SFFA was created by Edward Blum, who has a long history of opposing affirmative action and restricting voting rights. In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his claims in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin and reaffirmed that race may be considered as one of several factors in the college admissions process. Blum has continued his crusade against affirmative action by recruiting Asian American students to assert that Harvard discriminated against them.

In their brief, AALDEF and other Amici contend that by improperly grouping the diverse pool of Asian American applicants into a single “Asian” category, SFFA actually perpetuates the “model minority” myth and fails to disclose that its requested remedy–the elimination of race-conscious admissions–would mostly benefit white applicants, not Asian Americans.  The Amici reiterated their opposition to caps, quotas, or any negative action against Asian Americans but asserted that SFFA improperly conflates negative action with a race-conscious admissions policy that recognizes the importance of diversity.

Ken Kimerling, AALDEF legal director and one of the attorneys for Amici, said: “This case is hotly contested by witnesses and experts on both sides. However, SFFA has not submitted facts to support a finding of intentional discrimination against Asian Americans.” He noted that SFFA has not presented any supporting statements by the 40 or more persons involved each year to review and analyze the applications for admission. Kimerling said: “If there were a policy, written or unstated, to discriminate against Asian Americans, one or more of the 40 persons would have spoken up about it in the past decade. Clearly, the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment must be denied.”

Foley Hoag LLP is pro bono co-counsel representing the Amici.

In addition to AALDEF, 34 Asian American groups and higher education faculty are Co-Amici:

18 Million Rising
Asian American Federation
Asian American Psychological Association
Asian Americans United
Asian Law Alliance
Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance
Asian Pacific American Network
Asian Pacific American Women Lawyers Alliance
Asian Pacific Islander Americans for Civic Empowerment
Chinese for Affirmative Action
Chinese Progressive Association
Coalition for Asian American Children & Families
GAPIMNY
Japanese American Citizens League
Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics
National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development
National Korean American Service & Education Consortium
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

Individuals
(Institutional affiliations provided for identification purposes only)

Vichet Chhuon – U. of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Gabriel J. Chin – University of California, David School of Law
Tarry Hum, MCP, PhD – Queens College CUNY
Anil Kalhan – Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law
Nancy Leong – University of Denver Sturm College of Law
Shirley Lung – City University of New York School of Law
Mari J. Matsuda – William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai’i at Manoa
Kevin Nadal, PhD – City University of New York
Philip Tajitsu Nash – University of Maryland at College Park
Cathy J. Schlund-Vials – University of Connecticut
Sona Shah – University of Texas at Austin
John Kuo Wei Tchen – Rutgers University-Newark
Margaret Y.K. Woo – Northeastern University School of Law
K. Wayne Yang – University of California, San Diego

You can download the amicus brief here: http://bit.ly/2C1YIkd.

More than 500 Academic Experts on Asian American Studies, Race, and Access to Education Submit Amicus Brief Supporting Race-Conscious College Admissions

More than 500 scholars (list below) holding doctorates in a wide range of academic fields, including education, Asian American studies, political science, economics, sociology, anthropology and psychology, have submitted an amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court) brief in support of Harvard University, in a case currently being considered by the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts.

The lawsuit was filed by Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), an organization created by Edward Blum, who recruited Asian American plaintiffs in the case after he lost the last major challenge against affirmative action before the U.S. Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas (2016). In the case, SFFA argues that Harvard’s limited consideration of race in its admissions process intentionally discriminates against Asian American applicants. The amicus brief supports the use of race-conscious whole-person review. The brief was filed today.

The brief, submitted by scholars with expertise on Asian American studies, race, and college access, draws upon amici’s original research and the most extensive and up-to-date body of knowledge relevant to the legal issues in the case. The brief addresses: (1) why Asian American applicants, like applicants of all races, benefit from Harvard’s whole-person review process; and (2) why SFFA’s arguments are based on racial myths and stereotypes of Asian Americans.

AMICUS CURIAE BRIEF OF 531 SOCIAL SCIENTISTS AND SCHOLARS ON COLLEGE ACCESS, ASIAN AMERICAN STUDIES, AND RACE IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANT

Continue reading “More than 500 Academic Experts on Asian American Studies, Race, and Access to Education Submit Amicus Brief Supporting Race-Conscious College Admissions”

Advancing Justice Los Angeles Files Brief Supporting Race-conscious Holistic Review

Asian Americans are finding themselves in the crosshairs of the debate on affirmative action. Despite what Edward Blum may claim, the current lawsuit against Harvard is not about Asian Americans. He’s using our community as a cover for his crusade to dismantle affirmative action.

If he thinks we’re going to buy-in to this agenda, he’s wrong.

Today, we filed an amicus brief on behalf of a diverse group of students — including several Asian Americans — in support of Harvard’s holistic review policies. What this means is we are reaffirming our commitment to protecting race-conscious holistic review.

After his failed attempt to end affirmative action at the Supreme Court (Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin), Edward Blum, through Students for Fair Admission, actively began to recruit Asian American students to be plaintiffs for his latest campaign targeting Harvard’s race-conscious holistic admissions.

At the heart of this issue is not whether Asian Americans are discriminated against, but whether Harvard (and other universities and institutions) can continue to value racial diversity in ways in which our country has fallen short. Race-conscious holistic review allows applicants to be valued for who they are as a whole person, beyond just test scores and grades. It allows talented and gifted students from all backgrounds an opportunity to attend college and succeed in life. People of color, including Asian Americans, lose out under a colorblind system.

Earlier this summer, we launched a series of infographics that seek to demystify affirmative action and its importance for Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. We highlighted two infographics a week for the last six weeks, each detailing important facts about affirmative action. If you missed it, I encourage you to look through them on our affirmative action webpage.

We recognize Blum’s strategy for what it is: a thinly veiled attempt to use Asian Americans as a cover to destroy racial diversity across college campuses. We refuse to be used as a wedge in this issue.

We’re in this together,

Nicole Ochi
Supervising Attorney, Impact Litigation
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles

P.S. If you’re interested to learn more, we’re hosting a Twitter Town Hall on Wednesday, August 1st starting at 12 p.m. PT. Join the conversation by following @AAAJ_LA and the hashtag #NotYourCover. Hope to see you there.