Advocacy groups filed a lawsuit against Harvard University, accusing it of discriminatory practice of giving preferential treatment in the admissions process to applicants with familial ties to wealthy donors and alumni.
The lawsuit, filed by the Lawyers for Civil Rights group on behalf of the Chica Project, the African Community Economic Development of New England, and the Greater Boston Latino Network, alleges that nearly 70% of Harvard’s donor-related and legacy applicants are white.
“Qualified and highly deserving applicants of color are harmed as a result, as admissions slots are given instead to the overwhelmingly white applicants who benefit from Harvard’s legacy and donor preferences,” Lawyers for Civil Rights said in a statement on Monday.
“Even worse, this preferential treatment has nothing to do with an applicant’s merit. Instead, it is an unfair and unearned benefit that is conferred solely based on the family that the applicant is born into. This custom, pattern, and practice is exclusionary and discriminatory. It severely disadvantages and harms applicants of color.”
The lawsuit comes after the Supreme Court overturned race-based college admissions last week.
Universities have “concluded, wrongly, that the touchstone of an individual’s identity is not challenges bested, skills built, or lessons learned but the color of their skin. Our constitutional history does not tolerate that choice,” said Chief Justice John Roberts in the conservative majority ruling.