Dept. of Ed. Finds Harvard Application Deadline Flexible
Reports Clears University of Charges by Denied Applicant of Race-Based Preferences in Extensions, Recruitment
Harvard often allows students to apply for admission after its official deadline, according to a government report issued in a reverse-discrimination complaint field last year against the University.
But according to the report--obtained by The Crimson under the Freedom of Information Act--Harvard does not extend its deadline based on applicants' racial or ethnic background.
The report was issued by the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in response to a complaint filed by Mark Stonecypher, a white student who did not get into Harvard.
Stonecypher's complaint alleged that the University its application deadline for minority students and recruits students based on their race.
The Department of Education report, issued in September, cleared Harvard on both charges.
"We always have flexible deadlines for all backgrounds," said Dean of Admission and Financial Aid William R. Fitzsimmons '67. "We have always said that if there is a good reason we do give an extension."
Students who are not informed of the deadline--because, for example they are from another country or have bad high school counseling--often receive extensions, he said.
In fact, "the University considers the applications of hundreds and sometimes more than 1,000 applicants who apply after the application deadline," according to a memo by OCR Branch Chief Ralph D'Amico.
D'Amico went on to cite Associate Director of Admissions Rosemary M. Green, who said the deadline is flexible because "18-year-olds are under enough pressure to meet deadlines as it is.
Stonecypher's complaint came after a Black women from his high school was admitted to Harvard. He alleged that she was chosen over him based on race, not academic qualification.
Fitzsimmons said that applicants get special allowances based on socioeconomic background, not race. Such allowances can include extra recruiting efforts as well as extended deadlines, he said.
The OCR report concluded that Harvard did not discriminate against Stonecypher.
"The University presented a legitimate nondiscriminatory justification," according to the report. The University's policy of taking anapplicant's background and personal experienceinto account in making admissions decisions is notdiscriminatory, the report said. Fitzsimmons saidthe University had no doubt the OCR would find inits favor. "Based on the Bakke case and other decisions wewere secure we were right," he said. "And if wehad lost we would have pursued it further.
The University's policy of taking anapplicant's background and personal experienceinto account in making admissions decisions is notdiscriminatory, the report said. Fitzsimmons saidthe University had no doubt the OCR would find inits favor.
"Based on the Bakke case and other decisions wewere secure we were right," he said. "And if wehad lost we would have pursued it further.