February 5th, 2012 | University

Harvard, Princeton investigated for discrimination

Do Harvard and Princeton discriminate against applicants of Asian descent?
Do Harvard and Princeton discriminate against applicants of Asian descent? Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights is investigating a complaint that Harvard and Princeton discriminate against Asian-Americans in undergraduate admissions, Bloomberg reported late last week.

The complainant is an anonymous Asian-American applicant who says that Harvard and Princeton rejected him on the basis of his race and national origin. The student’s father told Bloomberg that his son was among the top students in his California high school, and that their family originally came from India.

Harvard spokesman Jeff Neal said Harvard does not comment on the specifics of complaints under federal review, but added that it “does not discriminate against Asian-American applicants.” Sixteen percent of Harvard undergraduates in the 2010-2011 academic year were Asian-American, a two percent dip from the number of Asian-American undergraduates in 2005-2006, according to the university’s website.

At Princeton, meanwhile, Asian-Americans now comprise 17.7 percent of undergrads, up from 14.1 percent in 2007-’08.