Michael Wang stared at the letter in dismay.
It marked the sixth Ivy League university he had been rejected by, out of the seven he had applied to. In addition to his perfect ACT score and grade-point average, he was ranked third nationally in piano, sang at President Barack Obama’s inauguration, and had received accolades in many debate competitions.
When Wang realized that people with lesser qualifications than his were getting accepted by the Ivies, he suspected that something else was afoot: It wasn’t his qualifications keeping him from his dream, it was his Asian last name.
That explains why in May 2015, he, along with 64 Asian groups, filed a complaint with the federal Department of Education against Harvard University, which is now under investigation for its affirmative action policy.
Article VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits educational institutions that receive federal aid from discriminating based on race. Owing to allegations of discrimination advanced by Asian-Americans, the Justice Department has asked Harvard to produce documents that will help shed light on its admissions process.