In anticipation of the Supreme Court review of a lawsuit that claims Harvard’s race-conscious admissions discriminates against Asian American applicants, Harvard College has unveiled a fall class that is 80 percent Asian.
“If the University of California can have 40 and 50 percent Asians at some of its campuses, we can’t let them beat us,” said Samson Louie, the newly appointed Asian American Admissions (AAA) facilitator for the college. “We are going to prove Harvard doesn’t discriminate. We are Asian-friendly.”
OK, catch your breath. It is April 1st.
You know an 80 percent Asian American class isn’t happening. And Samson Louie, the AAA facilitator, is made up. But the situation isn’t all that farfetched in the future.
Not the way things are going in higher ed and with the country’s demographics, it is not so outrageous to think that someday, somewhere, there will be a school with an 80 percent Asian American freshman class.
So what are the real numbers for the Class of 2026?
Harvard released its numbers for the incoming admits and Asian Americans grew once again to 27.8 percent, up from 27.2 percent.
African Americans comprise 15.5 percent of the class, down from 18 percent.
Latinx were at 12.6 percent, down from 13.3 percent.
Native Americans were at 2.9 percent, more than twice the previous year’s 1.2 percent.
Native Hawaiians increased from 0.8 percent from 0.6 percent.
Overall, the incoming admits are in keeping with the societal trend of minorities making up the majority, as the class is 59.6 percent Black, Indigenous, Persons of Color (BIPOC), and around 40 percent white.
As Harvard becomes more diverse, the school has also become more exclusive with its acceptance rate at a record low 3.19 percent.
Overall, 61,220 students applied to Harvard, an increase from 57, 435.
That means 1,954 applicants got offers of admission at 7 pm Thursday. And 59, 266 got rejections.
As I suggested earlier this year, if you’re Asian and got rejected, don’t despair. It’s not the end of the world. The ice caps aren’t melting faster based on your rejection from Harvard.
But just don’t buy into the myth that Asian Americans are being punished and blamed for doing well and that others less qualified (white, Black, and Hispanic, but mostly the latter two) are taking your rightful space at Harvard.
Get over yourselves. And ask what’s the harm? The application fee? Get a refund. Then take your Harvard rejection and your 4.0 to UC Santa Barbara (or another great school) and be the world beater you were meant to be.
Stop seeing education as if it were an Hermes bag. The H on the label means nothing. UC Santa Barbara is no Harvard knockoff. Plus, there’s the beach.
Now, if after all that you remain unpersuaded, should you consider a lawsuit?
Ted Cruz is trying to figure that one out too.
TED CRUZ IS NEITHER A WOMAN NOR AN ASIAN
At the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for Ketanji Brown Jackson, you’ll recall how Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) engaged in some strange hypotheticals about race and gender.
“Under the modern leftist sensibilities, if I decide right now that I’m a woman, then apparently I’m a woman,” said Cruz, who is definitely not a woman, but used it to argue if he could sue for discrimination.
Jackson responded properly that because lawsuits on those issues are “working their way through the courts,” she was not able to comment.
But Cruz pressed on, this time on race discrimination, referencing the case of Asians challenging Harvard’s affirmative action policies. “Could I decide I was an Asian man?” Cruz asked. “Would I have the ability to be an Asian man, and challenge Harvard’s discrimination because I made that decision?”
Once again, absurd. Ted Cruz is not an Asian. He could sue on his own.
And once again Jackson refused to answer because this is a case she might decide on.
But then Cruz got to the real question of whether Jackson, who had served on Harvard’s Board of Overseers, would recuse herself from the upcoming SCOTUS review of the lawsuit brought by Asian American plaintiffs against Harvard’s admissions policies.
And this is where Jackson said she was planning to recuse.
That was the news.
Jackson’s ascent to the court replacing Breyer wasn’t expected to change the political dynamic. 6-3 is still 6-3 when Breyer goes and Jackson comes in.
Still, announcing the planned recusal was just a stark reminder. The votes just aren’t there to protect affirmative action.
A friend of mine, a former law school dean, began to wonder aloud why Harvard didn’t try to settle the case by amending the admissions policy.
His reasoning is sound. “Over the years, challenges to disparate impact in housing policies that were on their way to the Supreme Court got settled because the civil rights community did not want to risk a major loss at the Supreme Court,” the former law school dean said. “Better to fix one policy and settle with one litigant than to have a Supreme Court decision making an unfavorable law.”
The point is all schools will have to follow the opinion, if it does indeed end affirmative action policies.
“Institutionally, they have to be in compliance and not just wait to be sued,” my friend said.
If only Harvard had changed whatever policy prevented even more Asians from getting accepted (the ones who sued), then there would have been no SCOTUS decision, and no nationwide impact.
But now the Supreme Court will hear the case in October and render an opinion by June 2023.
Jackson’s planned recusal didn’t change what now looks more inevitable. It’s just a reminder of the Supreme Court math, and the irony of it all.
There appears to be nothing she can do to save the policy that provided real opportunity for BIPOC students for decades.
In the meantime, if Harvard is forced to change its policies, it could mean what I believe to be a record 27.8 percent Asian American class this year would have a lot more room to grow in the future. The percentage of Asians could get much higher and closer to the 40-50 percent figures at the University of California.
And that would be no April Fool’s joke.
NOTE: I will talk more about this live on “Emil Amok’s Takeout,” the microtalk show of the AAPI, at 2p Pacific on Facebook, on my YouTube Channel, and on Twitter. Catch the recordings on www.amok.com