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Legal Group Prepares To Intervene in Affirmative Action Suit

By Ivan B. K. Levingston, Crimson Staff Writer

Two attorneys from the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice solicited input from College students Thursday as the group prepares to intervene against a pending lawsuit that alleges that Harvard uses “racially and ethnically discriminatory policies” in its admissions process.

The group seeks to file an intervention lawsuit and join in on the University’s opposition to the Project on Fair Representation’s original suit against Harvard. According to staff attorney Matthew Cregor, student input has been a critical part of a counterclaim filed in another PFOR lawsuit against the University of North Carolina.

Through filing an intervention, a third party can request to join an ongoing lawsuits.

The lawyers met with students at an off-the-record meeting hosted by the Black Students Association. They discussed a possible timeline for legal action against PFOR’s discrimination lawsuit.

“The student voice in prior lawsuits was a really effective thing...we encourage students here to be in touch with students in North Carolina,” Cregor said. “If this is a lawsuit that students are opposed to, we want to know.”

Priya A. Lane, who represented the Lawyer’s Committee along with Cregor, said the organization is interested in intervening on behalf of students.

Cregor said federal cases involving third-party interventions can take a long time and that his organization is a non-profit that works on behalf of clients pro bono. He added that he plans to follow up with some students who attended Thursday’s meeting.

The Facebook page promoting event said the lawyers’ deadline to file their claim is Monday.

This is the organization’s first visit to Harvard’s campus, according to Cregor. He declined to comment on the specifics of how the meeting with BSA was arranged. He also declined to comment on whether his organization was coordinating with Harvard in its legal filing denying claims of discrimination. Harvard has denied all of the allegations made by PFOR.

Students who attended the meeting said that while they thought attendance could have been better, they found the discussion informative.

Winnie Wu ’16 said most people who attended the meeting were minority students, and that it seemed “the general consensus was that the [PFOR] lawsuit was bad.”

Lane also said that generally students in attendance seemed to be against the suit by PFOR.

Abby Duker ’18 said that during the question and answer period, students asked the lawyers various questions including about possible backup plans.

“Everyone in there seems very passionate about making Harvard a more inclusive place for minorities,” Duker said.

—Staff writer Ivan B. K. Levingston can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @IvanLevingston.

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