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Education News: Harvard Accused of Bias Against Asian Americans

Problems with discrimination and racism have always plagued social and cultural groups.

Consequently, these issues have drawn continuous social and political debate. In the historical fight for equal rights and fair treatment for every one, courageous people resist any kind of social, gender or religion discrimination.

A recent case connected with Harvard University alleges that the school maintained discriminatory policies toward Asian-Americans. This story has become a global scandal.

The chancellor and the administration of the university were criticized for holding Asian Americans to a much higher set of entrance requirements than other candidates. It was stated that the university used fixed-quotas which were aimed to make the number of Asian-American candidates lower than other applicants.

Such a bias may lead to the supposition that the educational potential of Asian-Americans is lower when compared to white students. However, the figures state just the opposite. It’s been estimated that the results for Asian-Americans in general are about four hundred and fifty points higher in comparison with students of Afro-American origin, up to two hundred and seventy points higher than the result of Spanish students, and one hundred and forty points higher than white students (Belkin, 2015).

So the educational potential of Asian-Americans exceeds the possible stereotype of their poor educational skills and academic incompetence.

Sixty-four organizations filed a complaint accusing Harvard University of discrimination against Asian-Americans. The complaint alleges that “Many studies have indicated that Harvard University has been engaged in systemic and continuous discrimination against Asian-Americans during its very subjective ‘Holistic’ college admissions process” (Belkin, 2015).

This anti-racism campaign aims to carry out an investigation at the federal level. It also demands that Harvard“immediately cease and desist from using stereotypes, racial biases and other discriminatory means in evaluating Asian-American applicants” (Belkin, 2015).

Harvard’s general counsel, Robert Iuliano, insisted that the procedure for accepting the students into the university is in accordance with the law. The educational establishment firmly states that apart from paying close attention to entry exams results, only personal qualities such as leadership skills and extracurricular activities participation are taken into account.

Mr Iuloano specially underlined that, in terms of creating a multinational environment in class, a large number of lecturers and students should be admitted to the university. He highlighted that the number of minority applicants rose from 18% during the last ten years up to 21% nowadays. Still the difference doesn’t seem that much significant. The group of the initiators stand firmly for the idea, that the percent of the Afro-American students should be much higher (Belkin, 2015).

Many studies blame Harvard for using a highly subjective selection policy. It’s obvious that the legal complaint against the university is a result of long-standing offenses against the Asian-American community and the mistreatment of Asian-American students.

In any case, holding unfair and biased attitudes can never be viewed as a constructive policy. Even the slightest expression of anger and aggression toward people from minority groups is highly likely to cause alienation, and even lead to serious racial conflicts. One possible way out of the current unfavorable situation may lie in taking practical steps to reject all the national stereotypes regarding different racial groups. For only through decreasing social and racial tension can the aim of maintaining favourable balance between students of various races can be reached.

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Oct 28, 2015

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