Despite the American stereotype that Asians are hardworking, over-achieving and academically strong, statistics reveal that the rate of Asian-Americans getting accepted into Ivy League colleges is steadily declining.
Concerned about the trend, a coalition of over 130 Asian-American organisations have sought an investigation into the discriminatory admission practices at institutions including Yale, Brown and Dartmouth on 23 May.
Colleges Engaging in Racial Discrimination?
Indian-American groups, the American Society of Engineers of National Capital Chapter, and the Global Organisation of Los Angeles Chapter joined over 130 Asian-American groups to file the complaint with the US Department of Education and Justice.
The group alleges that the three institutions are engaging in unlawful discrimination against Asian-American applicants to covertly enforce race-based quotas in admissions, violating the constitution.
This is not the first time such a complaint has been filed. Last year, complaints were registered against Harvard University for unfairly rejecting well-qualified Asian-American students because of their race.
A 2012 case revealed that an Indian-American had filed a suit against Harvard and Princeton for the same reason, which was dismissed in court.
However, the US government has done nothing to stop this patently unconstitutional discrimination, says a member of the coalition.
There is widespread disappointment regarding the mishandling of Asian-American complaints by the Office for Civil Rights, Department of Education.
The statistics prove that while the Asian-American college-age population in the count has risen from 2.5 percent in 1995 to 5.1 percent in 2011, the percentage of Asian-Americans at Ivy League schools has declined considerably.
The coalition, in its largest-ever joint action against Ivy League universities, wants colleges to recognise that the discrimination is a“systemic problem” and immediately ensure that the institutions do not continue in this manner.
Today, we want to tell Ivy League schools and other colleges: Asian-American communities are going to continue our fight, until you totally stop your unlawful discrimination against our children!YuKong Zhao, President of AACE
Asians Too Smart to Have Minority Privileges?
An article in Foreign Policy, states that while African-American led the civil rights movement, Asians’ contributions were significantly less.
However, with the introduction of affirmative action, rights were distributed more equitably among people of colour, with schools taking the lead by giving equal preference to other races as well.
With the passage of time, it became evident that Asians were surpassing even whites. And with their higher grades and better performance, could not be classified with other minorities who were lagging behind.
Furthermore, several schools have also held on to regressive prejudices about Asian students that they can only study engineering, lack leadership, are too quiet and so on.
‘Holistic College Admissions’ a Sham?
Sara Haberson, a former associate dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania wrote in the Los Angeles Times that in many cases, Asian-American students are denied admission because they don’t have a “tag” associated with their application.
They basically lack “the proverbial golden ticket for a student applying to an elite institution.”
Students with tags may be “recruited athletes, children of alumni, children of donors or potential donors, or students who are connected to the well-connected,” according to the former admissions dean.
And the fact is that Asian Americans often don’t use the “connections” they do have. In all my years in college admissions, I never received a phone call or a visit from a well-connected politician, chief executive or other leader to advocate for an Asian American student.Sara Haberson, former associate dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania
Asian-Americans are tired of seeing just a single Asian face on college prospectus for ‘diversity’. It is time for deserving candidates to be accepted back into the Ivy League fold, regardless of their ethnicity.
(With PTI inputs)