Re “Asian-Americans divided on Harvard suit” (Page A1, Aug. 2): I am outraged that Lee Cheng, an attorney for the Asian American Legal Foundation, asserts that Harvard students have no right to advocate for an inclusive admissions policy and compares those students to a child of a slave owner justifying slavery. To invoke and trivialize slavery, a 250-year legal policy of monstrous violence and destruction of families, by comparing it to Ivy League admissions is offensive and absurd.
The limited use of race in admissions was established, and has been highly successful, as a tool to address persistent and growing inequities in educational opportunity created by American racism, past and present. Cheng’s dismissal also overlooks the fact that most Asian-Americans support race-consciousness to increase equal access to education.
Students Sally Chen and Thang Diep are exemplars of Harvard’s whole-person admissions process at its best: students who are both academically stellar and committed to building a more just society. Chen and Diep have used their immense educational privilege to take a stand for what they believe is fair and right. They are the fearless future leaders colleges strive to nurture, and for this they should be commended and not insulted.
The writer, a 1983 graduate of Harvard, is cofounder and steering committee member of the Coalition for a Diverse Harvard.