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Boston Latin Must Participate in Admissions Lawsuit, Court Rules

Boston Latin School.
Boston Latin School. By Saul A. Urbina-Johanson
By William S. Flanagan and Michael E. Xie, Crimson Staff Writers

Boston Latin School, a competitive Mass. public high school, will have to turn over documents relevant to an ongoing lawsuit accusing Harvard of discriminating against Asian American applicants after a court ruling Tuesday.

Students for Fair Admissions, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, served Boston Latin a subpoena earlier this year requesting the school produce documents on the racial composition of applicants and admits to Harvard. The group also requested any internal or external communications of alleged racial discrimination against Asian Americans in the college admissions process and the deposition of a school representative.

Though Boston Latin moved to quash the subpoena in April, a Mass. district court ruled that the school would have to fulfill SFFA’s requests for documents in four categories: Boston Latin’s documents on the racial composition of Harvard applicants, internal communications on Harvard’s use of race in its admissions processes, documents describing alleged race-based discrimination by Harvard, and other “non-privileged communications” about SFFA or the lawsuit. The court also granted SFFA permission to question a representative of Boston Latin.

But the high school will not be required to produce “documents or information that were prepared by or shared with Harvard,” as well as other documents not specified by the court.

The order intends to “minimize the burden on non-party [Boston Latin], while also ensuring the availability of information and the integrity of the discovery process,” according to the court.

Edward Blum, the president of SFFA, told the Boston Globe that as long as the case does not go to trial, the documents will not be accessible to the public.

Boston Latin is one of four top high schools across the country that received subpoenas from SFFA. Though two of the other schools have already agreed to comply with the subpoena, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va. is currently awaiting a decision on its motion to quash.

According to SFFA, these subpoenas will highlight the experiences of high school administrators and counselors who may be witness to race-conscious admissions policies at Harvard.

—Staff writer William S. Flanagan can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @willflan21.

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