July 26, 2023
As the tremors of the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down affirmative action continue to reverberate across higher education, legacy admits are poised to become the next domino to fall.
Yesterday the Education Department opened a federal civil rights investigation into Harvard University’s policy of preferential admissions treatment for the children of alumni. The move came after a coalition of interest groups led by the Boston-based Lawyers for Civil Rights filed a complaint arguing that the practice illegally discriminates against students of color in favor of wealthy, less qualified applicants.
Nicole Rura, Harvard’s senior communications officer, confirmed that the Office for Civil Rights had notified the university of the investigation. But she said that even prior to the announcement, Harvard had been engaged in an internal review of its admissions practices in light of the affirmative action ban.
“Following the Supreme Court’s recent decision, we are in the process of reviewing aspects of our admissions policies to assure compliance with the law and to carry forward Harvard’s long standing commitment to welcoming students of extraordinary talent and promise who come from a wide range of backgrounds,” she wrote in an email to Inside Higher Ed.