Legal experts said the decision likely was ‘politically motivated’
Harvard University did not release data on the racial demographics of students accepted via early admission to the Class of 2028, breaking the precedent from last year.
The Harvard Crimson reported on Dec. 14 that “this year’s early admissions cycle marks the first in which race was not considered in Harvard’s admissions process.”
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid William Fitzsimmons told The Crimson he had “no information” about how racial demographics in admissions have changed this cycle.
Fitzsimmons told the paper that Harvard will release figures on race and ethnicity in the entering class after final admissions decisions are made. Students may accept their offers through May 1, 2024.
Even more, based on legal advice, “admission officers will not have access to data on race or ethnicity until the admissions process is entirely over,” Fitzsimmons said.
Harvard accepted 8.74 percent of early applicants to the Class of 2028, an increase of more than one percentage point from the 7.56 percent early action acceptance rate for the Class of 2027, as reported by The Crimson last December.
Though up from last year, the early admission acceptance rate for the Class of 2028 was the fourth lowest in the college’s history.
Boston University School of Law Professor Jonathan Feingold told The Crimson in a Sunday article that Harvard’s decision not to report the racial composition of admitted students “is more politically motivated than it is a pure legal question.”
“Regardless of what the racial composition looks like, there’s a good chance that someone is going to be unhappy, and it’s likely going to — at a minimum — create a public relations challenge for the institution,” Feingold told the paper.
Vinay Harpalani, a law professor at the University of New Mexico, told The Crimson that releasing the data could “open [Harvard] up” to accusations of noncompliance with the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling overturning the use of affirmative action in higher education.
On June 29, the court passed down two landmark decisions in favor of the plaintiffs in a pair of cases targeting affirmative action policies at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University, as The College Fix reported at the time.
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