Today, a group of between 40 and 50 Asian American organizations will hold two coordinated press conferences in Washington DC and in California to announce the filing of an administrative complaint to the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and to the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Justice, alleging that Harvard University’s admission policies discriminates against Asian American applicants.
In response, a coalition of over 135 Asian American, Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander organizations — as well as hundreds of concerned AANHPI individuals — issued an open letter expressing support for affirmative action policies in higher education and launched the website AsianAmericanCivilRights.org. That letter reads in part:
Affirmative action policies help to level the playing field and promote diverse university learning environments that are essential in our multiracial and multicultural society. Our democracy benefits from a diverse and educated populace and workforce.
Those who are truly committed to equal educational opportunity should demonstrate real leadership and reinvest in higher education throughout the nation to expand access, affordability, equity, and student success. Decades of disinvestment in higher education across the country have made college less accessible for all students, especially students of color. We call for unity in standing up for the future of our youth and realizing the promise of equal opportunity for all in the United States.
Today, the two U.S. Civil Rights Commissioners on the US Commission on Civil Rights who are Asian American — Michael Yaki and Karen Narasaki — issued their own statement on today’s scheduled announcement of a formal civil rights complaint against Harvard.