Harvard Students Allowed to Testify for College at Bias Trial

(Bloomberg) -- Some current and former Harvard students who support the college’s admission policies will be heard during a trial in which the school is accused of discriminating against Asian-Americans.

In addition to allowing for a day of testimony from eight current and former students at the trial, which is scheduled to start Oct. 15, U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs in Boston on Wednesday also ruled she will permit some evidence about Harvard’s past discrimination against Jews in the 1920s.

While the historical background has "limited relevance" to the college’s current admissions policies, Burroughs said it was important for a full record to be developed when the case was later reviewed by higher courts.

Students For Fair Admissions Inc., or SFFA, sued Harvard in 2014, claiming the college’s subjective personal-rating system is biased against Americans of Asian descent.

Harvard has denied the allegation, saying its consideration of race is “one factor among many” in the admissions process and is legal under Supreme Court precedent. The college has said it can’t ignore race if it’s to provide the educational benefit of a diverse student body.

The case is likely to be challenged to the U.S. Supreme Court, and Burroughs said she wanted a full record of evidence to be available when the case was appealed.

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