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The Future of Affirmative Action in College Admissions

The Harvard Crimson/Brendan J. Chapuis

On today's show, we're discussing the role of race and class in college admissions. In a federal court case in Boston, Harvard University has been sued by a group of Asian-American students who were denied admission to the elite institution. They allege that Harvard discriminates against Asian applicants and holds them to higher standards.

The group, called Students for Fair Admissions, is led by conservative activist Edward Blum and seeks to end race-conscious admissions. In response, Harvard has defended its practices, and many students, alumni and other colleges and universities have expressed support for continuing to consider race as a factor in the application process.

The trial, which ended on Nov. 2, drew national attention and sparked conversations about the future of affirmative action in college admissions. The federal judge is expected to reach a decision in early 2019. We welcome three guests to the conversation today:

Julie J. Park is an associate professor of education at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the author of Race on Campus: Debunking Myths with Data. 

Aaron Mak is a reporter for Slate Magazine where he covers technology. 

Brenda Shum is director of the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)