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Two high school students who hope to attend the College were accepted as amici curiae in the ongoing lawsuit against Harvard last Wednesday, and will be allowed to submit briefs supporting Harvard’s race-conscious admissions processes.
Judge Allison D. Burroughs of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts accepted the brief filed by Jason Fong, a high school senior who has already applied to Harvard, and a high school sophomore identified as M. A., who plans to apply in the future. Burroughs’s decision came approximately one month after the two students initially filed for amici status.
The lawsuit, brought by anti-affirmative action group Students for Fair Admissions, alleges that Harvard discriminates against Asian Americans in its undergraduate admissions processes. Fong and M. A., in their initial motion to join the lawsuit, wrote that they believed they would bring a unique perspective to the lawsuit as Asian American and Pacific Islander students in support of affirmative action.
With their new status in the lawsuit, Fong and M. A. will be joining a group of 13 prospective, current, and graduated students who were granted amici status in Dec. 2015 after the court denied their motion to intervene.
The group of amici curiae—a term meaning “friends of the court”—will be able to submit declarations and briefs and participate in oral arguments relating to certain motions.
“I think our main goal is to say that we support the consideration of race in admissions,” said Nicole G. Ochi, supervising attorney for Asian Americans Advancing Justice–Los Angeles, the group representing Fong and M. A. “Maybe Harvard could do a better job of that, but that shouldn’t be eliminated as a consideration.”
In early Jan., Fong wrote an op-ed calling on Asian Americans to rally behind affirmative action and holistic admissions.
“I don't understand how we ever got the idea that a fantastic report card, amazing test scores, and participation in activities that supposedly show ‘well-roundedness’ mean that we are entitled to admission to our dream school,” Fong wrote.
Representatives from SFFA could not be reached for comment.
—Staff writer William S. Flanagan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Michael E. Xie can be reached at email@example.com.
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