Blunder in Affirmative Action Case May Cost Harvard $15 Million
The University of Texas at Austin is set to file a federal lawsuit against Harvard University today, claiming that Harvard’s decision to deny the admission of a top Chinese-American student based on an “unjustifiable racial preference” was illegal.
The suit, which the school is now preparing to file in New Jersey, will claim that the Ivy League has a policy that denies students the opportunity to compete equally on academic merit for admission to their preferred institution by “subjectively and arbitrarily” granting preferential treatment based on race.
The lawsuit, which could cost the university $15 million in legal fees, is expected to “wax in” today before a federal judge in Austin, and could take as long as a month to resolve, according to The Associated Press.
UTA, which has about 16,800 undergraduates attending its four-year University, has denied the application of the student, Heping Chang, to attend Harvard because of “the university’s objective determination of his admitted high school class,” according to a February 25 press release.
In response to the UT Austin case, Harvard University is planning to seek “all available relief through the courts,” according to a legal notice.
“The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has ruled that Harvard can not use race as a “discriminatory tool,” in the admissions process of the University of Texas. Since then, Harvard has made a conscious decision to abandon any racially based criteria. Consequently, Harvard is seeking all available relief through the courts. The University of Texas, which filed a similar suit, was forced to pay damages of $20 million.”
Heping Chang first applied to Harvard in 2003, but was not accepted owing to the university’s “objective determination of his admitted high school class.” Although UT’s admissions process uses a form called the “applicant questionnaire,” Harvard’s form requires a student to attach a letter of support from six of his or her parents, as well as a personal