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Lawsuit alleges Harvard placed quotas on Asian-American admissions

Harvard University admissions currently discriminates against Asian-Americans the same way it placed quotas on Jewish applicants in the 1920s and '30s, a lawsuit filed Friday alleges.

The Boston-based lawsuit says the school gave Asian-American applicants consistently low personality scores, slashing their chances of admission, per The New York Times. The highest personality ranking was given to 21.3 percent of white applicants, but just 17.6 percent of Asian-Americans — many of whom admissions officers hadn't even met.

Students for Fair Admissions, the group levying the suit, says the low scores were intended to hold Harvard's Asian-American population around 20 percent, per the Times. Harvard researchers brought up the potential bias in 2013, but court papers suggest the admissions department ignored their findings.

Harvard president Drew Faust tackled the suit before it was filed Tuesday, saying the school's community is the "most varied and diverse that any of us is likely ever to encounter." Harvard also states its Asian-American population has grown 29 percent in the last decade.

Even though the case just focuses on Harvard, it could upend admissions processes at other competitive schools, says Inside Higher Ed. Princeton University beat similar discrimination charges in 2015 by saying it rejected thousands of applicants of all backgrounds, so the number of Asian-American rejections was negligible. The case will likely move to a trial in October, per the Times, and Harvard may borrow Princeton's defense.