The majority of Harvard University’s incoming class is nonwhite for the first time in the university’s 380 years, officials say.
The Boston Globe reports that 50.8% of the incoming freshmen class are from minority groups, up from last year’s 47.3%. Of the students admitted from minority groups, 22.2% are Asians, 14.6% are African American, 11.6% are Latino and 2.5% are Native American or Pacific Islander.
Harvard’s milestone follows a New York Times report that said the U.S. Justice Department’s civil rights division planned to investigate universities for affirmative action admissions policies that discriminate against white applicants, according to an internal document obtained by the newspaper. However, the Justice Department said on Wednesday that the document was a job posting relating to only one complaint and not a part of a larger effort.
“The posting sought volunteers to investigate one administrative complaint filed by a coalition of 64 Asian-American associations in May 2015 that the prior administration left unresolved,” spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said. The complaint accused Harvard University and other Ivy League institutions of discriminating against Asian-American students in the admissions process.
Harvard defended its admissions practices on Wednesday. Harvard spokeswoman Rachael Dane told the Globe that the university “remains committed to enrolling diverse classes of students.”
“Harvard’s admissions process considers each applicant as a whole person, and we review many factors, consistent with the legal standards established by the U.S. Supreme Court,” she said.