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Joseph Williams // CC BY 2.0

The anti-affirmative action group suing Harvard University has filed a request calling on the school to release its admissions data. The group, called Students for Fair Admissions, has contended since 2014 that Harvard's admissions process discriminates against Asian applicants. 

In SFFA's original complaint, which was filed in 2014, it states that Harvard is “employing racially and ethnically discriminatory policies and procedures in administering the undergraduate admissions program.” 

After SFFA first launched its complaint, the university was forced to release admission data from the last six cycles to the SFFA for analysis under strict confidentiality agreements. Since reviewing these documents, SFFA said in a letter to courts on March 30 that these documents clearly demonstrated its argument, and called on the presiding judge to make a decision on its case based on these documents alone, The New York Times reported

On top of denying these claims, Harvard argues that making admission data available to the public will pose security and privacy threats to applicants, whose applications will make them easily identifiable. The university also claims it would be “detrimental” to its application process, as applicants may tailor themselves according to the data to better increase their chances to get in.  

According to the SFFA, data and analysis “strongly suggest that white, African-American, and Hispanic applicants are given racial preferences over better qualified Asian-Americans applying for admission to Harvard.” 

If the courts agree with SFFA, it would mean that Harvard has violated the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which “prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives Federal funds or other Federal financial assistance.” 

Harvard and SSFA will discuss a timeline for the lawsuit at a hearing on April 10.

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