Date Filed: 07/30/2018

UPDATE  February 13, 2019

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) delivered post-trial arguments today in order to protect diversity at Harvard. The final hearing comes after LDF submitted its proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law in early January, urging the Massachusetts federal court to reaffirm Harvard’s right to consider race as one of many factors in a holistic admissions process.

“Racial diversity is a central pillar of a rich, inclusive and comprehensive educational experience that benefits all students,” said Jennifer Holmes, Assistant Counsel at LDF. “Banning Harvard from considering race will undermine its ability to create a learning environment that prepares students for an increasingly global workforce despite significant barriers to opportunity for many students of color in our K-12 education system. Race-conscious admissions are vital to advancing racial equity and inclusion in higher education, and the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that universities have the right to consider race as one aspect of a multidimensional admissions process. We urge the Massachusetts federal court to do the same.”

Read the post-trial arguments delivered by LDF Assistant Counsel, Jennifer Holmes, here.

UPDATE  January 9, 2019

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law today, urging the Massachusetts federal court to reaffirm Harvard’s right to consider race as one of many components in a holistic admissions process. The post-trial filing comes after Harvard College and Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) submitted opposing recommendations about what factual findings and legal conclusions the Court should draw from the testimony and evidence presented at trial in mid-October.

“The lived experiences of many students of color simply cannot be separated from their race. Through their testimonies in this trial, Harvard students, alumni, administrators, and experts consistently demonstrated the vital importance of race-conscious admissions to cultivating the educational benefits of diversity that are essential to a 21st century education,” said Jin Hee Lee, LDF Senior Deputy Director of Litigation. “The court’s decision in this case may affect the ability of college and universities across the country to provide an education enriched by the vibrant diversity that our nation has to offer.  Given the pervasive racial inequities in our educational system, the elimination of race conscious admissions would deny educational opportunities to many qualified students of color, which would be a devastating blow to our society as a whole.”

Read the post-trial filing here. Read our press release here.

UPDATE  November 2, 2018

The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. (LDF) made closing statements today in the federal trial that seeks to eliminate race as one of many factors used in Harvard’s admissions process, threatening diversity at the college.

“Harvard’s diversity puts students in an environment where people of different backgrounds stop being faceless others, and become classmates, teammates, lab partners, and friends. In this process, stereotypes are undermined, cross-cultural relationships grow, and deeper understandings of complex social problems are formed,” said Cara McClellan, NAACP LDF Skadden Fellow. “Diversity is one of the most meaningful aspects of the preparation that Harvard students receive. Harvard must be permitted to pursue the benefits of diversity if it is to fulfill its educational mission.”

UPDATE  October 29, 2018

Today Harvard students and alumni testified in federal court in support of the university’s ability to consider race as one of many factors in its holistic admissions process. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and local counsel Sugarman Rogers represented four of the witnesses who testified about the integral role of race in their identity and vital importance of diversity at Harvard.

The court heard the testimony of students Catherine Ho, Co-President of the Asian American Women’s Association, Madison Trice, Political Action Chair of the Association of Black Harvard Women, Cecilia Nuñez, Vice-President of Fuerza Latina, and Harvard graduate Margaret M. Chin, Ph.D., co-founder and Board member of Coalition for a Diverse Harvard. They represent 25 Harvard student and alumni organizations that filed amicus briefs condemning this lawsuit and issued the following statement:

“We are sharing our personal stories and Harvard experience in court today in solidarity with our fellow classmates and alums who believe as we do that our race is one of many factors that colleges and universities have the right to consider in admissions policies. It’s a privilege to speak on behalf of our fellow classmates and alums who want to see more diversity and inclusion on our campus.”

UPDATE  October 15, 2018:

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) made opening statements today in a federal trial regarding a lawsuit that seeks to eliminate race from consideration in Harvard College admissions, threatening diversity at the school. LDf represents a group of 25 Harvard student and alumni organizations condemning the lawsuit’s attempt to pit historically marginalized groups against each other. Four LDF clients, who are a mix of current and former Harvard students representing these organizations, will testify in the trial later this month.

The Association of Black Harvard Women, Coalition for a Diverse Harvard, Harvard Asian American Women’s Association, Harvard Black Students Association, Harvard Islamic Society, Harvard Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students, Harvard University Muslim Alumni, Harvard-Radcliffe Chinese Students Association, Kuumba Singers of Harvard College, Native American Alumni of Harvard University, Phillips Brooks House Association, Task Force on Asian and Pacific American Studies at Harvard College, and Robert Rhew, member of the Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance issued the following statement:

“We come from different backgrounds and lived experiences, but we all agree that race must be considered as part of Harvard’s admissions policy. Diversity on campus – and at all levels of education – matters. It matters for our schools, for our communities, and for our country, which needs leaders who have experienced people of different backgrounds and perspectives. This lawsuit is an attack on the very idea of what education should be. The court must uphold the ability of colleges and universities to foster a diverse campus.”

Read the LDF brief and declarations from Harvard student and alumni organizations here.

Read the opening statement from LDF Assistant Counsel, Jennifer Holmes, here.

UPDATE  August 30, 2018:

Twenty-five Harvard student and alumni organizations, represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), filed an amicus brief August 30 in a Massachusetts federal court condemning a divisive lawsuit that seeks to eliminate the consideration of race in admissions, thereby threatening diversity at the college.

The brief, filed on behalf of 25 organizations representing diverse backgrounds and racial and ethnic heritages, argues that the elimination of race in Harvard’s college application process will lead to further discrimination towards applicants of color. The brief also describes how erasing race from the admissions process means students will be forced to hide a key part of their identity and notes how racial and cultural heritage cannot be ignored when considering any college applicant.

Read the updated amicus filing including four additional organizations here.

Read motion of additional Harvard student and alumni organizations to participate as amici curiae here. 

Read our press release about the addition of these organizations here.

July 30, 2018:

Harvard student and alumni organizations represented by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) filed an amicus brief on July 30th, 2018 in a Massachusetts federal court, condemning a divisive lawsuit that seeks to eliminate the consideration of race in Harvard’s admissions, threatening diversity at the college.

The brief, filed on behalf of twenty-one organizations representing diverse backgrounds and racial and ethnic heritages, asks the Court to follow Supreme Court precedent recognizing that universities can consider race in a multifaceted, holistic admissions process to create a diverse student body and denounces this lawsuit’s attempt to pit historically marginalized groups against each other.

“The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that colleges have the right to consider race as one of multiple factors when reviewing the full spectrum of an applicant’s identity and academic potential,” said Jin Hee Lee, LDF’s Senior Deputy Director of Litigation. “This lawsuit may claim to represent the interests of Asian American students, but in reality, it is an unabashed attempt to eliminate important efforts to foster diversity in college campuses to the detriment of all students, including Asian Americans.”

Read LDF’s response in support of motion to participate in trial here.

Read LDF’s response to Department of Justice involvement in this lawsuit here.

Read our press release on the amicus filing here.

Read our press release responding to SFFA opposition here.

Read LDF’s full amicus brief here.

Read Department of Justice statement of interest in opposition to Harvard’s motion for summary judgement here.

Read SFFA memorandum in opposition to amicus here.

Read LDF’s response to SFFA memorandum in opposition here.

Read our Motion for Leave to Participate as amici curiae here.

Read declaration for Harvard Black Student Association here.

Read declaration for Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Association here.

Read declaration for Harvard Japan Society here.

Read declaration for Harvard South Asian Association here.

Read declaration for Harvard Islamic Society here.

Read declaration for Harvard Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students here.

Read declaration for Asian American Brotherhood here.

Read declaration for Fuerza Latina here.

Read declaration for Asian American Women’s Association here.

Read declaration for Harvard Vietnamese Association here.

Read declaration for Coalition for a Diverse Harvard here.

Read declaration for Phillips Brooks House Association here.

Read declaration for First-Generation Harvard Alumni here.

Read declaration for Native American Alumni of Harvard University here.

Read declaration for Harvard University Muslim Alumni here.

Read declaration for National Board of Directors of Harvard Latino Alumni Alliance here.

Read declaration for 21 Colorful Crimson here.

Read declaration for Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance here.

Read declaration for Harvard Black Alumni Society here.

Read declaration for Association of Black Harvard Women here.

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