Harvard Sued Over ‘Legacy Admissions’ After Supreme Court Overturns Affirmative Action

Harvard Sued Over ‘Legacy Admissions’ After Supreme Court Overturns Affirmative Action


Civil rights groups have filed a complaint against “legacy” admissions at Harvard University just days after the Supreme Court ruled that race can no longer play a factor in college/university admissions.

Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) filed a federal civil rights complaint on Monday (July 3) against Harvard for granting,

“special preference in its admissions process to hundreds of mostly white students – not because of anything they have accomplished, but rather solely because of who their relatives are.”

Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of Boston-based Lawyers for Civil Rights said,

“There’s no birthright to Harvard. As the Supreme Court recently noted, ‘eliminating racial discrimination means eliminating all of it.’ There should be no way to identify who your parents are in the college application process.”

He continued,

“Why are we rewarding children for privileges and advantages accrued by prior generations? Your family’s last name and the size of your bank account are not a measure of merit, and should have no bearing on the college admissions process.”

On Thursday (June 29), the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to repeal affirmative action, which has been a decades-long policy useful for increasing diversity on college campuses.

According to Harvard data, nearly 70% of “legacy” and donor-related applicants are white and are six to seven times more likely to be admitted to the prestigious university than non-legacy applicants. The report states that among white students granted admission, over 43% are from athletes, legacies, those on the dean’s interest list, and children of faculty and staff.

It goes on to state that these preferences are “conferred without regard to the applicant’s credentials or merits” and “systematically disadvantage students of colour.”

The ultimate goal of the complaint is for the US Department of Education to initiate a federal investigation into Harvard’s application process and for the federal government to declare “legacy” admissions illegal.

Lawyers for Civil Rights litigation fellow Michael Kippins said in a statement:

“Harvard’s practice of giving a leg-up to the children of wealthy donors and alumni – who have done nothing to deserve it – must end.”

In response to the Supreme Court ruling, Harvard University said it would continue to welcome “people of many backgrounds, perspectives, and lived experiences.”

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Authored by: Monique Nicole