The U.S. Department of Education has closed its investigation into alleged discrimination against Asian Americans in Harvard’s admissions policies following the withdrawal of the initial complaint, according to a department spokesperson.
In August 2011, an individual filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Education alleging rejection based on the student’s Asian American ethnicity. OCR began the investigation in January and closed it on Wednesday.
“We are pleased that the complaint against Harvard has been withdrawn and that OCR has closed the case. Harvard College welcomes talented students from all backgrounds, including Asian Americans,” wrote Faculty of Arts and Sciences spokesperson Jeff Neal in an email.
The same individual accused Princeton U.’s admissions office of similar discriminatory practices, and that complaint has also been withdrawn.
But OCR’s investigation of Princeton is ongoing. Initially, the recently withdrawn complaint had been folded into a larger investigation prompted by an earlier allegation. Jian Li filed a complaint with the Department of Education in 2006 after being rejected from Princeton, according to a 2008 story in USA Today.
Harvard’s admissions office has long touted its “holistic” approach to reviewing applications. While the University takes ethnicity into consideration, the admissions officers consider it one factor among many.
“Our review of every applicant’s file is highly individualized and holistic, as we give serious consideration to all of the information we receive and all of the ways in which the candidate might contribute to our vibrant educational environment and community,” wrote Neal.