Harvard bias trial to spotlight use of race in college admissions

Lawrence Bacow, right, and his wife Adele Fleet Bacow leave Harvard Yard after his inauguration as the 29th President of Harvard University, Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 in Cambridge, Mass. (AP)
Updated 12 October 2018
0

Harvard bias trial to spotlight use of race in college admissions

BOSTON: A lawsuit challenging the use of race as a factor in US college admissions will go to trial in Boston on Monday, when Harvard University will face accusations that it discriminates against Asian-American applicants.
The lawsuit, backed by the Trump administration, could eventually reach the Supreme Court, giving the newly cemented five-member conservative majority a chance to bar the use of affirmative action to help minority applicants get into college.
“The case is critically important as it’s really about diversity at colleges all across the country,” said Nicole Gon Ochi, an attorney at Asian Americans Advancing Justice–Los Angeles who supports Harvard in the case.
Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA), founded by anti-affirmative action activist Edward Blum, sued Harvard in 2014, contending it illegally engages in “racial balancing” that artificially limits the number of Asian-American students at the Ivy League school.
The US Justice Department, which launched a related probe of Harvard after Republican President Donald Trump’s election, has backed the group, saying the Cambridge, Massachusetts, university has not seriously considered alternative, race-neutral approaches to admissions.
Conservatives argue that affirmative action, which aims to offset historic patterns of racial discrimination, can hurt white people and Asian Americans while helping black and Hispanic applicants.
SFFA said that its analysis of Harvard admissions data shows that Asian-American applicants are less likely to be admitted than their white, Hispanic or black counterparts.
Harvard denies discriminating against Asian Americans, saying their rates of admission have grown significantly since 2010. Asian-Americans, who represent about 6 percent of the US population, make up 23 percent of Harvard’s current freshman class.
It notes that the Supreme Court has previously held that colleges have an interest in enrolling diverse groups of students and may consider race as one factor among many when reviewing applications.
The last time the nation’s top court examined the issue was in 2016, when conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy joined the court’s liberals to allow race to be considered in college admissions. Kennedy’s replacement, Brett Kavanaugh, could be more likely to vote to bar its use.
“This is one area where there could be a significant change by replacing Kennedy with Kavanaugh,” said Ilya Shapiro, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute.
The Justice Department last month opened a probe into whether Yale University also discriminates against Asian Americans, and SFFA has a similar case pending against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on behalf of white students.
“A student’s race or ethnicity should not be a consideration in university admissions,” Blum said.


’Pig’ British tourists to be deported from New Zealand

Updated 16 January 2019
0

’Pig’ British tourists to be deported from New Zealand

  • The family have been involved in a string of incidents in the country, including accusations of littering, assault, not paying for restaurant meals and intimidating behavior
  • "They're worse than pigs and I'd like to see them out of the country," Auckland mayor said

WELLINGTON: Members of a British family have been branded “worse than pigs” and face deportation from New Zealand after a spree of bad behavior that left normally easygoing Kiwis outraged.
The family have been involved in a string of incidents in and around Auckland and Hamilton, including accusations of littering, assault, not paying for restaurant meals and intimidating behavior.
Auckland mayor Phil Goff led national outcry at the tourists’ antics, demanding the police take action. “These guys are trash. They are leeches,” he told a local radio station.
“If you say one time ‘I found a hair or an ant in my meal’ you’d believe it but they find it every meal that they have as a way of evading payment. That’s a criminal activity.
“They’re worse than pigs and I’d like to see them out of the country.”
New Zealand’s assistant general manager of immigration, Peter Devoy, said the family had been issued with a deportation notice on the grounds of “matters relating to character.”
One 26-year-old member of the family on Wednesday pleaded guilty to stealing NZ$55 ($37) worth of goods from a petrol station.
The family attracted extensive media coverage in New Zealand after a video showed them leaving beer boxes, bottles and other rubbish strewn on a popular beach.
When a woman asked them to clean up their litter, a child in the group can be seen on video threatening he would “knock your brains out.”
Stuff Media reported that one family member hit a journalist with her shoe after being approached for comment.
A member of the family told the New Zealand Herald they have now decided to cut short their holiday and will return home this week.
John Johnson insisted his family were of good stock, claimed his grandfather was the “10th richest man in England” and said he was made to feel “very unwelcome” in New Zealand.