On Monday, the Biden Administration’s Department of Education (DOE) launched an investigation into possible civil rights violations as a result of Harvard University’s longtime practice of legacy admissions.
As the Daily Caller reports, the investigation by the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is seeking to determine if the practice, in which applicants are accepted based on having ancestors who attended Harvard or otherwise having family connections to the university, was in violation of the Civil Rights Act. The investigation is a response to complaints filed by numerous far-left organizations, including the Chica Project, the African Community Economic Development of New England, and the Greater Boston Latino Network.
“The students who receive this preferential treatment – based solely on familial ties – are overwhelmingly White,” the complaint claims. “Nearly 70% of donor-related applicants are White, and nearly 70% of legacy applicants are also White.” The complaint further claims that, since Harvard receives federal funding, it must adhere to the Civil Rights Act or else face a loss in such funding.
“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,” said Michael Kippins, the lawyer who filed the complaint. “This preferential treatment overwhelmingly goes to White applicants and harms efforts to diversify. Particularly in light of last week’s decision from the Supreme Court, it is imperative that the federal government act now to eliminate this unfair barrier that systematically disadvantages students of color.”
The effort follows two landmark rulings by the Supreme Court – Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard and Students for Fair Admissions v. University of North Carolina – which ended the nationwide practice of affirmative action, in which universities would admit applicants based purely on their race. Affirmative action, which had been in place since the 1960s, overwhelmingly saw black and Latino students accepted over White and Asian students, despite the latter two groups consistently out-performing the former two in grades, test scores, and other academic metrics.