A coalition of more than 60 Asian-American groups filed a federal discrimination action against Harvard University, claiming racial bias in undergraduate admissions. The administrative complaint follows the filing of a lawsuit in federal court against Harvard in November.
The administrative complaint filed Friday with the U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights claims Asian-American students with almost perfect college entrance-exam scores, high grade-point averages, academic awards and leadership positions are more likely to be rejected than similar applicants of other races.
Harvard denies discriminating.
The complaint, also filed with the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, reflects longstanding concern among academically high-performing Asian-Americans that they’re held to a higher admissions standard at elite U.S. colleges.
While Harvard officials hadn’t seen the complaint, Robert Iuliano, the school’s general counsel, said in a statement that the college’s admissions policies comply fully with the law and are essential to the school’s mission.
In November, Students for Fair Admissions Inc., a group which said it represents unidentified college applicants, filed a federal lawsuit in Boston against Harvard’s governing board, alleging that the school illegally limited admissions of Asian-Americans. The same group also filed a federal suit against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in November. In its answer filed March 24 in federal court, the university “expressly denied” that it discriminates “in any aspect of UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate admissions.”
Asian-Americans represent 5.6 percent of the U.S. population. At Harvard, Asian-Americans made up 21 percent of the freshman class admitted in March, more than any other group other than whites. In 2006, the percentage was 17.7. Harvard this year accepted 5.3 percent of all applicants, second to Stanford University in its selectivity, the schools said.
Seth Waxman, Paul Wolfson, Debo P. Adegbile and Felicia Ellsworth of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP are listed on the filings as representing Harvard. According to documents in the UNC case, Michael Scudder of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP is representing the school, along with the North Carolina’s attorney general’s office.
The Harvard case is Students for Fair Admissions Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College, 1:14-cv-14176-ADB, District of Massachusetts (Boston). The UNC case is Students For Fair Admissions Inc. v. University of North Carolina, 1:14-cv-00954, U.S. District Court, Middle District of North Carolina (Greensboro).
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On the Move
Gibson Dunn Hires Real Estate Partner in Its New York Office
Victoria Shusterman has joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP as a partner in New York. Shusterman, who was previously a partner with Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, focuses on commercial real estate finance. She represents commercial banks, REITs, insurance companies and private equity investors in commercial real estate financing transactions and investments.
Manatt Phelps Expands with Lawyers from Squire Patton Boggs
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP has hired Daniel Addison as a partner in the federal government affairs and public policy practice as a partner in Washington. Addison, who previously practiced at Squire Patton Boggs, is joining Douglas Boggs, Alan Noskow and Joseph Passaic, who also previously worked at Squire Patton Boggs and joined Manatt in April.
Addison’s practice includes legislative strategy and working with foreign governments, particularly in developing nations, with an emphasis on Africa. Addison has also handled matters involving natural resources, multimedia targeting initiatives, and risk-management aspects of environmental compliance, rulemaking and litigation.
Kleinberg Kaplan, Hedge Fund Law Firm, Adds Partner in New York
Kleinberg, Kaplan, Wolff & Cohen PC hired Richard Guidice, Jr. as a partner in the hedge fund practice. He previously was a partner in the New York and Seattle offices of K&L Gates LLP.
Guidice focuses on the formation and structuring of U.S. and offshore hedge funds, private equity funds, real estate funds and funds-of-funds.
McGuireWoods Adds to Its M&A Practice in Its Pittsburgh Office
Thomas Zahn has joined McGuireWoods LLP’s mergers and acquisitions practice in the Pittsburgh office. Zahn represents public and private companies and private equity funds in a wide range of corporate and transactional matters, including mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures and corporate governance matters.
Jackson Lewis Expands in Several of Its Offices Nationwide
Jackson Lewis PC has added new shareholders in several offices.
Natalie Nathanson joined the firm’s Chicago office as shareholder. Nathanson, who was previously senior counsel at Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc., has in-house and large-firm experience in the field of employee benefits and executive compensation.
In Memphis, Craig Cowart has joined as a shareholder and Sally Barron has joined as of counsel. Both attorneys arrive from Fisher & Phillips LLP and will represent employers in labor and employment-related litigation, arbitrations and administrative proceedings.
Matthew Martinez joined the Phoenix office as a shareholder. Martinez, who arrives from Fennemore Craig, focuses on immigration and nationality law.
In addition, the firm has opened an office in Salt Lake City -- its 55th -- and shareholder Conrad Kee has relocated to run it. The firm said it plans to add more attorneys in the future.