Harvard challenged over legacy admission process

A civil rights group called Lawyers for Civil Rights has filed a complaint challenging the practice of legacy admissions at Harvard University.

They argue that this practice discriminates against students of color by giving an unfair advantage to predominantly white children of alumni. The complaint alleges that Harvard’s legacy preference is unrelated to merit and results in qualified students of color being denied admission. It cites data revealing that 70% of Harvard’s legacy applicants are white, and being a legacy student increases the chances of admission sixfold.

Proponents of legacy admission say that the process encourages donations and that legacy admissions though more likely to get in, are generally on par academically with the rest of the student body.

The civil rights groups seek a declaration from the U.S. Education Department that the practice is illegal and that Harvard should abandon it as long as it receives federal funding.

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