Lawyers from the Legal Defense Fund spoke to Harvard affiliates at a pro-affirmative action “teach-in” hosted by a student group in the Science Center on Tuesday.
The event comes four weeks before the Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments in an affirmative action lawsuit against Harvard. The suit, brought by the anti-affirmative action group Students for Fair Admissions, alleges that Harvard College discriminates against Asian American applicants by considering race in its admissions process.
The “teach-in,” hosted by the Harvard Affirmative Action Coalition, featured student speakers along with community organizers and lawyers from LDF who discussed the lawsuit and the legal history of affirmative action.
Chelsea Wang ’25, a student leader for the Harvard Affirmative Action Coalition, said she was partially driven to help organize the event because she “wants to help dispel the model minority myth.”
“I don’t want Asians to be used as a wedge or a pawn to further a white supremacist agenda,” Wang said.
Edward J. Blum, the president of SFFA, who has led an array of legal challenges to affirmative action, has said his suits “are rescue missions for the colorblind legal principles that hold together Americans of all races and ethnicities.”
In August, the Legal Defense Fund filed a brief on behalf of 25 Harvard student organizations asking the Supreme Court to uphold affirmative action in the SFFA case.
“It’s always so inspiring to come and be in communication and be in conversation with our clients and also other Harvard students,” said Michaele N. Turnage Young, LDF’s senior legal counsel.
The Supreme Court rejected a request in August from LDF for 10 minutes of oral argument time in the Harvard case, which is being heard on the same day as a similar suit brought by SFFA against the University of North Carolina.
“It’s vitally important that the perspective of the thousands of current Harvard students that we represent be available to the court,” Turnage Young said.
Justices are set to hear the case on Oct. 31.
Correction: October 8, 2022
A previous version of this article misstated the time at which Supreme Court arguments will begin in the SFFA v. Harvard case.
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