For the first time in its storied 380-year history, Harvard University’s incoming freshman class will consist of a majority of non-white students. Harvard is the world's leading university and has educated more U.S. presidents than anywhere else—including Barack Obama, who went to Harvard Law (pictured above).
According to the BBC, the racial breakdown is as follows: “Asian Americans make up 22.2%, followed by African Americans at 14.6%, Hispanic or Latino students at 11.6%, and Native American or Pacific Islanders at 2.5%.”
Rachel Dane, a spokesperson for the university, claims it is “committed to enrolling diverse classes of students,” adding that “to become leaders in our diverse society, students must have the ability to work with people from different backgrounds, life experiences, and perspectives.”
According to CNN, of the 2,056 students accepted into the class of 2021, 50.8 percent are people of color, but that’s not such a huge jump compared to last year’s 47.3 percent.
The difference is that this year's statistics have come amidst controversial reports out of the White House and the New York Times regarding affirmative action at colleges and universities.
On August 1, the New York Times reported that the White House was looking for lawyers interested in “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions” within the Department of Justice’s civil rights division. The implication was that the administration was interested in scrutinizing the practice of affirmative action in general and was gearing up to straight-up sue universities if it found that they discriminated against white applicants in particular.
The White House has since denied the paper’s claims, claiming that the DOJ is instead looking into a more specific complaint issued in May of 2015. The complaint in question was brought against Harvard by a coalition of 64 Asian-American associations. “The complaint alleges racial discrimination against Asian-Americans in a university's admissions policy and practices,” explained Sarah Flores, DOJ spokesperson. “This Department of Justice has not received or issued any directive, memorandum, initiative or policy related to university admissions in general.”
For its part, Harvard denies the allegations and insists that its admission process is “consistent with the legal standards established by the US Supreme Court,” according to Melodie Jackson, a spokeswoman for the university.
The debate over affirmative action is not new, but the news that Harvard’s class will be more diverse than ever has been well received by most sane and rational people, especially considering the U.S. is on track to becoming majority non-white as a whole by 2044.
Harvard, you're doin great sweetie pic.twitter.com/J90qrI7tY3— Dani 🇲🇽🇬🇹 (@daniiscool_) August 4, 2017
The shooketh-ness of it all.😩🙌🏾— Skeeter Valentine (@KAdamsMusic) August 4, 2017
Ayyyyyyy. Shoutouts to people of color!!! 👏🏼👏🏽👏🏾👏🏿— 🍯 (@nezvsworld) August 3, 2017