An activist group filed a complaint challenging Harvard’s legacy admissions Monday, arguing the practice discriminates against Black applicants.
The group, Lawyers for Civil Rights, claims that the practice of legacy admissions unfairly favors White applicants. The move comes days after the Supreme Court ruled that Harvard’s race-based affirmative action practices were unconstitutional.
“Why are we rewarding children for privileges and advantages accrued by prior generations?” LCR executive director Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal said. “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.”
Harvard declined to comment on the development in a Monday statement.
“Last week, the University reaffirmed its commitment to the fundamental principle that deep and transformative teaching, learning, and research depend upon a community comprising people of many backgrounds, perspectives, and lived experiences,” the university said in a prepared statement. “As we said, in the weeks and months ahead, the University will determine how to preserve our essential values, consistent with the Court’s new precedent.”
LCR submitted the civil rights complaint through the Department of Education.
The college earlier confirmed that it would comply with the Supreme Court ruling ending affirmative action, though it emphasized that its “essential values” remain unchanged.
Harvard’s leadership declared that “diversity and difference are essential to academic excellence,” and vowed to “preserve” the university’s essential values. The statement also highlighted a potential route by which Harvard could continue to account for race in admissions in some form.
“The Court held that Harvard College’s admissions system does not comply with the principles of the equal protection clause embodied in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act,” the statement read. “The Court also ruled that colleges and universities may consider in admissions decisions ‘an applicant’s discussion of how race affected his or her life, be it through discrimination, inspiration, or otherwise.’ We will certainly comply with the Court’s decision.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.