Affirmative Action in College Admissions: Successes and Failings
Although introduced in 1961, affirmative action policies continue to beget everyday conversations around and lawsuits against institutions of higher education. Students for Fair Admissions, a national advocacy organization that opposes the use of certain affirmative action policies in higher education, brought suit against Harvard University in 2017, arguing that the University discriminated against Asian-American applicants and therefore violated Title XI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This article discusses the arguments that both parties presented and provides an analysis thereof. The author’s personal assessment is included, though it was written in advance of the District and Appellate Courts’ recent verdicts. As Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard is the latest in a series of high-profile cases against elite universities, this article seeks to provide a foundational understanding for how to approach similar cases that will undoubtedly arise in the future, some of which may even reach the Supreme Court.
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