The freshman class entering Harvard University in Fall 2017 will consist of a majority non-white student body for the first time in the school’s 380-year history. Harvard is the world’s leading university and has educated more U.S. presidents than any other school. The presidential alumni includes former president Barack Obama, who attended Harvard Law.
The freshman class scheduled to graduate in 2021 has the following racial breakdown: 22.2 percent Asian Americans, 14.6 percent African Americans, 11.6 percent Hispanic or Latino Americans, and 2.5 percent Native American or Pacific Islanders.
A spokeswoman for the school, Rachel Dane, said Harvard is “committed to enrolling diverse classes of students to become leaders in our diverse society. Students must have the ability to work with people from different backgrounds, life experiences, and perspectives.”
This year’s freshman class consists of 2,056 students, of which 50.8 percent are people of color. In 2016, the school had enrolled a 47.3 percent non-white freshman class. This year’s class is being met with controversy because of reports coming out of the Trump White House and the New York Times regarding affirmative action at colleges and universities.
According to a report by the New York Times, the White House was looking for lawyers interested in “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”
The article implies that the Trump administration is interested in scrutinizing the practice of affirmative action with regards to the way universities are admitting students. In particular, the report believes the White House wanted to see if white applicants in particular are being discriminated against. The White House has issued an outright denial of the claims made by the New York Times article.
Harvard insists that its admission process is “consistent with the legal standards established by the US Supreme Court.” The university appears to be changing with the country’s demographics, considering the fact that the U.S. is on track to becoming majority non-white as a whole by 2044.