Harvard students staged a campus rally in support of affirmative action Monday as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in cases brought by Students for Fair Admissions against Harvard and the University of North Carolina.
Roughly 20 students, many holding posters and chanting “Diversity is under attack!” crowded around the John Harvard Statue for the demonstration. Meanwhile, hundreds of students from Harvard and other colleges rallied outside the Supreme Court in Washington.
The lawsuits allege the schools’ race-conscious admissions processes are discriminatory, with SFFA arguing the Court should overturn its precedent and eliminate affirmative action in higher education. Harvard has denied the allegations and decried SFFA’s legal battle against race-conscious admissions.
Many of the demonstrators’ chants criticized SFFA President Edward J. Blum, who has led eight lawsuits that have ascended to the Supreme Court. Blum’s suits have attempted to strike down race-conscious policies around voting rights and college admissions.
“Hey hey, ho ho, Edward Blum has got to go,” the protesters yelled. “Send him home ’cause we say no.”
Kiersten B. Hash ’25, the political action chair for the Generational African American Students Association, said in an interview that Monday’s rally was a way for students who could not travel to Washington to make their voices heard.
“For those of us who couldn’t make it to D.C., still wanting to use our voice and create this echo rally is so important,” said Hash, who delivered a speech and led chants at Monday’s demonstration.
“It’s important that we have this catharsis and are able to come out and scream and yell and advocate for diversity,” she added.
In a speech, Asian American Women’s Association President Kaitlyn Tsai ’25 called on protesters to affirm that students of color have a place at Harvard.
“I think it’s really important for all of us to remember that we are as entitled to be here as anyone else,” said Tsai, a Crimson magazine editor. “We belong here.”
Sikhs and Companions of Harvard President Tarina K. Ahuja ’24 said in a speech that the belief that Asian Americans do not support affirmative action is a “heartbreaking” misconception.
“We need solidarity between every single one of our communities, and without that solidarity, we’re not going to progress. Affirmative action supports all of us,” Ahuja said. “All of us are standing here together, and nobody can tell us that our communities are divided because they are not.”
“We will stay here together, and we will continue fighting together,” she added.
—Staff writer Leah J. Teichholtz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @LeahTeichholtz.