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Justice Department says Harvard discriminates against Asian-Americans

Harvard's Widener Library
Harvard's Widener Library. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/UIG via Getty Images

The Justice Department has filed a statement supporting claims that Harvard University discriminates against Asian-American applicants in its use of a "personal rating," which evaluates prospective students on traits like likability, courage and kindness.

The big picture: Despite having the highest average academic ratings of any racial or ethnic group, Asian-Americans score the lowest on the personal rating — which Justice Department lawyers attributed to racial basis. Harvard is being sued in federal court by Students for Fair Admissions, a nonprofit that is challenging the legality of affirmative action.