About 150 Asian American and Pacific Islander groups have signed on to a statement supporting affirmative action in higher education.
“Our universities should reflect our diverse democracy and expand opportunities for those students who have overcome significant barriers,” the statement reads. “All students benefit from the racially and ethnically diverse learning environments fostered by race sensitive holistic admissions processes, including the benefits of increased cross-racial understanding, reduction of stereotyping and isolation of minority students, and training for a diverse workforce and society.
“Students of color, particularly African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Southeast Asians, are much more likely to attend under-resourced K-12 schools. Implicit bias and stereotyping also further impact and harm the educational learning environments and opportunities of students of color. Universities should consider these factors when reviewing applications for admissions.”
The statement organized in the last 48 hours states that quotas are illegal, including banning limits on the admission or enrollment of any racial or ethnic group. The groups contend affirmative action does not institute quotas, but instead assists in making universities “reflect our diverse democracy and expand opportunities for those students who have overcome significant barriers.”
The statement comes on the same day an official complaint is expected to be announced calling for the Department of Education and the Department of Justice to conduct an investigation into the admissions policies at Harvard and other top Ivy League schools. The complaint alleges the universities practice discriminatory policies that limit the number of Asian American students admitted. A news release says the complaint has the support of 50 Asian American organizations, but does not name them.
The news conference is scheduled for the National Press Club in Washington, DC today and will be attended by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Michael Wang, who filed a complaint in 2013 about unfair treatment by Ivy League Schools.
The 138 AAPI groups who reaffirmed their support of affirmative action in their statement today, strongly oppose the complaint.
“Unfortunately, there have been attempts by some to engage in divisive wedge politics by using misguided, misleading tactics to attack equal opportunity by calling for an end to race sensitive admissions policies at educational institutions such as Harvard University and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Opponents of affirmative action have wrongfully and disingenuously equated affirmative action with quotas.”
(This story has been changed to correct the number of Asian American groups supporting affirmative action)