Lawyers for Civil Rights, a Boston-based nonprofit, filed today a federal civil rights complaint against Harvard College with the U.S. Department of Education’s (DOE) Office for Civil Rights (OCR).
The lawyers drafted the complaint on behalf of 3 organizations, including the Chica Project, the African Community Economic Development of New England (ACEDONE), and the Greater Boston Latino Network (GBLN).
The complaint outlines that Harvard’s current legacy admission policy grants applicants related to its donors and alumni a 6-7 times higher possibility to be admitted. The mentioned group is predominantly composed of families with ties and wealth, within which 70% are white.
It is demanded that the US Department of Education investigates Harvard College under Title VI, which prohibits racial discrimination of organizations receiving federal financial assistance.
As the Supreme Court made a decision on June 29, 2023 to remove affirmative action, greater disadvantages are believed to be created to applicants of color. The organizations came to file this complaint to balance out the negative influences.
They hold that, with affirmative action nullified, it is imperative to modify other existing policies in the higher education admissions process that harms equal opportunities.
Only a small number of selective universities have canceled legacy admissions. According to Amherst College, the reason why it dropped legacy admissions is to accept more diverse background students to the elite university.