"Harvard, like every other college, requires Asians to meet a much higher standard of academic qualifications to get in and admits blacks and Hispanic students with much lower qualifications on the assumption that somehow race is the most important thing about you".
A group of supporters who also support U.S. President Donald Trump attend the "Rally for the American Dream - Equal Education Rights for All", ahead of the start of the trial in a lawsuit accusing Harvard University of discriminating against Asian-American applicants, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., October 14, 2018.
Students for Fair Admissions is led by Edward Blum, a legal strategist who has fought against the use of race at other colleges, including a Supreme Court case in 2016 that upheld policies at the University of Texas.
"Harvard never considers an applicant's race to be negative", Lee told U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs, who is presiding over the non-jury trial.
One side says Harvard University's admissions process unfairly excludes academically talented Asian-Americans in favor of students from other races.
Harvard denies any discrimination and says it considers the race of its applicants as one of many factors.
The case already has pulled back the curtain on aspects of Harvard's secretive admissions process, including a "personal rating" that measures certain character traits. One brief, filed by sixteen élite universities, including the rest of the schools in the Ivy League, states that if they were "required to adopt race-neutral admissions policies" they "would no longer be able to effectively pursue the attainment of the type of diversity that advances their educational missions".
Mortara said while Asian-Americans outperformed other groups on academic measures, they received low scores on the "personal" rating that measures an applicant's subjective likability and grit, a fact he said Harvard can not prove was not due to racial bias.
The Justice Department last month launched a similar investigation into whether Yale University also discriminates against Asian-Americans, an allegation it denies.
Another student, James Matthew said, "race can not be removed effectively from an application just because it is so central to so many people's identity".
Asian Americans "do shockingly. poorly", Mortara said, compared to African Americans.
"The people who are harmed who are the basis for this group to file this lawsuit are concerned that they will be discriminated against in graduate school admissions as well as in job applications", Cheng says. Fitzsimmons has been Harvard's dean of admissions and financial aid since 1986.
The lawsuit has sparked debate among students, with pro-affirmative action protesters and individuals supporting the case holding duel rallies over the weekend.
Harvard University faces accusations that it discriminates against Asian-American applicants.
Students for Fair Admissions, the plaintiff in the case, is arguing that there's no explanation for the racial makeup of Harvard's first-year classes, except for racial balancing, which the Supreme Court has said is unlawful.
"We're here because SFFA would like to change that law", he said. Plaintiff's attorney John M. Hughes asked him to explain an internal document that showed the university treats white and Asian American high school students differently when it sends recruiting letters. In the 2016 case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, Kennedy wrote the argument rejecting arguments on behalf of Abigail Fisher, who also was recruited by Blum, and endorsing the racial affirmative action meant to diversity the campus of the flagship school based in Austin.
The replacement of conservative Kavanaugh, for the more moderate retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, increases the chances that the 1978 affirmative action landmark, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, would be overruled.