Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Legal Way to Achieve Equal Access for Asian to Elite Colleges

Applying to Ivy League Colleges like Harvard, MIT and Yale has always been stressful. Today, the number of students applying to elite colleges is exploding,
and the applicants have better test scores. Getting into a highly selective university has never been harder.
Yet, Asian-American student face an extra source of stress: race and ethnicity. Admission Discrimination by college is hardly new controversy. Series of legal cases challenging colleges’ quota limiting number of Asian students started as early as 1990.
Recently with the increased numbers of Asian Immigrants and their public complaints, the same issues are under new round of scrutiny. Lately, Students for Fair Admission, an non-profit organization filed lawsuit against Harvard
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alleging the university’s practices discriminated Asian students on the basis of race, color and national origin.
Sixty-four Asian-American groups filed similar complaint against Harvard with the federal Departments of Education and Justice claiming unlawful use of race” in its admissions process to discriminate against Asian-American applicants.
In order to win these allegations, it is important to know the legal bases for these complaints. In other word, what laws did the colleges violate?

The root of the anti-discrimination law is fourteenth Amendment of Constitution of the United States. Constitution restricts government power against the people. In order to reach the actions of individuals, Congress, using its power to regulate interstate commerce, enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibiting discrimination based on "race, color, religion, or national origin" in public establishments that have a connection to interstate commerce or are supported by the state. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000a Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination in federally funded programs. As a matter of fact, since 1964 the Supreme Court has expanded the reach of the 14th Amendment in some situations to individuals discriminating on their own.
Individuals claiming that a federal aid recipient, in this case, elite colleges, has violated Title VI can file an administrative complaint with the federal agency that funded the recipient or with Department of Justice.

Direct proof of discriminatory motive is often unavailable. In the absence of such evidence, the investigating agency must first determine if the complainant can raise an inference of discrimination, then the investigating agency must determine if the recipient can articulate a legitimate nondiscriminatory for the chained action, in plain English, a persuasive explanation that the admission policy is not designed to discriminate. If the recipient can articulate a nondiscriminatory explanation for the alleged discriminatory action, the investigating agency must determine whether the record contains sufficient evidence to establish that the recipient's stated reason was a pretext for discrimination. In other words, the evidence must support a finding that the reason articulated by the recipient was not the true reason for the challenged action, and that the real reason was discrimination based on race, color, or national origin.

In closing, discrimination against Asian students by Elite Colleges is elephant in the room. Raising voices is easy, to win and to make them change will take a series of legal battle. Knowing what can be done is ultimately essential to assure equal access of Asian to Elite colleges.