The US Education Department is reviewing complaints that Harvard and Princeton discriminate against Asian-Americans in undergraduate admissions.
The department’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating a complaint it received in August that Harvard rejected an Asian-American candidate for the current freshman class based on race or national origin, said an Education Department spokesman who declined to be identified, citing department policy. The agency is looking into a similar August allegation against Princeton as part of a review begun in 2008 of that school’s handling of Asian-American candidates, the spokesman said.
Both complaints involve the same applicant, who was among the top students in his California high school and whose family originally came from India, according to the applicant’s father, who declined to be identified.
The new complaints, along with a case appealed in September to the Supreme Court challenging preferences for blacks and Hispanics in college admissions, may stir up the longstanding debate about whether elite universities discriminate against Asian-Americans, the nation’s fastest-growing and most affluent racial category.