Boston (CNN) During final arguments Wednesday in the case against Harvard’s affirmative action practices, lawyers offered starkly different versions of how Asian-American applicants are treated and clashed over racial diversity on campus.
The case, which Burroughs and lawyers for both sides predict is ultimately destined for the US Supreme Court, was brought four years ago by a group called Students for Fair Admissions.
It asserts that Harvard discriminates against Asian-Americans, largely by giving them low “personal” ratings that lessen their chance of admission, while at the same time according higher such ratings to African-American and Hispanic students — the traditional beneficiaries of affirmative action.
“Harvard intentionally discriminated in this case against Asian American applicants,” Adam Mortara, representing the challengers, said Wednesday, “… because of implicit bias, (which) could have happened because of racial stereotyping.”
Mortara suggested that Harvard admissions officials had “fallen prey” to stereotypes of Asians as “one-dimensional,” “timid,” and “book-smart.”