Asian American Race-Based Complaint Against Harvard Dismissed

Chris Fuchs, NBC News, July 8, 2015

The United States Department of Education has dismissed a complaint filed in May by a coalition of more than 60 Asian-American groups accusing Harvard University of discriminating against Asian Americans and other ethnicities and races in its admissions process.

The complaint, made by the Asian American Coalition, was closed on June 3 because of an on-going lawsuit filed in November by Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. that lodges the same accusations against Harvard University, a U.S. Department of Education spokesman told NBC News in an email Tuesday.

Yukong Zhao, one of the chief organizers of the coalition that sent the complaint, said he was undaunted by the U.S. Department of Education’s decision.

“We are going to continue to pursue our equal education rights,” Zhao told NBC News. “We have a lot of other options, and we are not going to be slowed by this.”

In May, the Asian American Coalition filed complaints with both the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice, asking that they require Harvard to “immediately cease and desist from using racial quota or racial balancing” to admit students, and to “ensure that Harvard and other Ivy League schools will never again discriminate against Asian Americans or applicants of any other races.”

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Betty Hung, policy director for Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a civil rights group, said she welcomed news that the U.S. Department of Education had closed the complaint against Harvard, but added that she remained troubled over the lawsuit’s intent to end affirmative action at Harvard and other American universities.

“Affirmative action policies help to level the playing field and to promote diverse university learning environments that are essential in our multiracial and multicultural society,” Hung, a 1993 Harvard College graduate, told NBC News in an email.

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