Dear fellow alumni and friends,
On October 31st, the US Supreme Court will hear arguments for Students for Fair Admissions vs. President and Fellows of Harvard College. For centuries, Harvard has been the standard bearer for higher education. Cultivating a diverse community is one of Harvard’s core values, and its whole person admissions policies have been supported by forty years of court decisions. This case is putting this precedent at risk, challenging the freedom and flexibility Harvard and other higher education institutions have to create their campus communities.
As fellow alumni, we want you to be aware of the stakes of this case. The outcome of this ruling will not only affect Harvard and higher education, but will also have ripple effects across society as businesses, the military, and non-profits have also based their diversity policies on this precedent. The media will likely report relentlessly on the case, and it might be hard to parse fact from fiction, hyperbole from reality.
Before the case reached the Supreme Court, two lower courts resoundingly rejected all four of SFFA’s claims, including its chief allegation that Harvard discriminates against Asian Americans. This summer, 60 amicus briefs were filed in support of Harvard, including one by the Harvard Asian American Alumni Alliance along with 24 other Harvard student and alumni organizations. Other briefs were filed by more than 100 colleges and universities; over 70 corporations, including Apple, Google, Shell and Mastercard (see here, here and here); and more than 35 top former US military leaders.
No matter your views, we encourage you to see beyond our differences and come together for Harvard as this case is thrust into the national and international spotlights. Harvard has often been the model for many to follow, and we have a legacy to protect. In today’s polarized climate, we need to make sure this case does not divide us as alumni.
To learn more about the case, please read these FAQs or go to Harvard’s website on the case. If you want to take action to support Harvard, you can do so by sharing this note with your fellow alumni or by committing to one of these actions.
HAA Elected Director 2020-2023