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BOSTON — Harvard University’s admissions practices are on trial in Federal District Court in Boston, in a lawsuit that could have a broad impact on the way colleges choose their incoming classes.

The plaintiffs accuse Harvard of effectively setting a restrictive quota for the number of Asian-American students it accepts, a claim the university denies.

Asian-Americans are divided on the case, with some saying they are being unfairly used as a wedge in a bid to abolish affirmative action.

The court may rule broadly and make new law on the issue, or it may hand down a narrow decision that affects only Harvard.

The lawsuit accuses Harvard of discriminating against Asian-American applicants.

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