New York, NY (October 3, 2019) — The National Association of Scholars (NAS) reacted with disappointment to the decision by a United States District Court upholding racial discrimination in admissions by Harvard University. NAS had previously filed an amicus brief in the case, Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard, in favor of the plaintiff. We noted that Harvard’s race-conscious admissions process discriminates against Asian applicants in order to achieve racial balancing.
“Racial discrimination is wrong,” said NAS President Peter Wood. “Unfortunately, Judge Allison D. Burroughs engaged in mental gymnastics to find Harvard’s behavior legal. Burroughs acknowledged that Harvard considers race ‘as a positive attribute’ for some races, but refused to admit that this results in intentionally negative outcomes for non-favored races.”
Wood continued, “Race should play no role in college admissions. Colleges and universities should concern themselves with life of the mind, not the color of their students’ skin. Academic achievement, proven ability, ambition, and commitment to learning should form the basis for college admissions decisions.”
The National Association of Scholars has opposed racial preferences in admissions policies since its founding in 1987. NAS members wrote the text of California Proposition 209, which made race-based admissions policies such as Harvard’s illegal in 1996. NAS previously urged legislation to end race-based preferences, and still desires such an outcome.
NAS expects the case to be appealed. “The court has a duty to uphold fairness and equality,” said NAS President Peter Wood. “We will continue to advocate for a fair treatment of all students.”
NAS is a network of scholars and citizens united by a commitment to academic freedom, disinterested scholarship, and excellence in American higher education. Membership in NAS is open to all who share a commitment to these broad principles. NAS publishes a journal and has state and regional affiliates. Visit NAS at www.nas.org.
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- NAS’s amicus brief in Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard
- NPR “On Point” Debate Featuring NAS President Peter Wood