May 23, 2016
Randy Bunnao, (213) 241-0227

LOS ANGELES - In response to news reports that administrative complaints are being filed today seeking to dismantle race-conscious admissions policies at Brown University, Dartmouth College, and Yale University, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice) issues the following statement:

As the nation’s leading civil rights organization for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Asian Americans Advancing Justice fully supports equal opportunity and affirmative action in higher education, as part of our broader support for diversity, inclusion, and equal opportunity in all contexts including education as well as employment and contracting.
“Efforts to dismantle race-conscious admissions programs are short-sighted. They ignore the historical context for such programs and also serve to marginalize currently underserved communities, including many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders,” said Stewart Kwoh, executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles. “We oppose quotas on any racial or ethnic groups, which already are prohibited by law. The truth is that affirmative action does not constitute quotas -- it simply takes into account whether an applicant has overcome significant obstacles and institutional barriers, such as racial and ethnic discrimination. We strongly support admissions policies that are inclusive of all underrepresented communities.”
Historically, race-conscious programs have opened doors and provided opportunities for Asian Americans and other communities of color, who have been systematically denied equitable access to educational opportunities, job promotions, and leadership positions. These programs continue to benefit many communities of color, including many in our own ethnically diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander community.  For example, data consistently demonstrate that many Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander ethnic groups face educational access barriers similar to African American and Latino students.
“Equal opportunity and inclusion are critical values for the continued success of our diverse nation. Unfortunately, these most recent complaints divide our communities instead of addressing our nation’s significant educational access issues,” said Mee Moua, president and executive director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC.  “We must not turn back the clock on the progress achieved by affirmative action policies that have long served to combat inequality and create a diverse educational environment that allows all to succeed.”
For additional comments, please contact the following experts from Asian Americans Advancing Justice:
Betty Hung, Policy Director
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles
(323) 359-1187 (cell)
(213) 977-7500 ext. 214
*Harvard College and Yale Law School alumnus
Nicole Ochi, Supervising Attorney, Litigation
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles
(213) 977-7500 ext. 211
Christopher Lapinig, Skadden Fellow & Staff Attorney, Litigation
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles
(203) 936-9766 (cell)
*Yale University and Yale Law School alumnus

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Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. The affiliation's members are: Advancing Justice-AAJC (Washington, D.C.), Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice-Atlanta, Advancing Justice-Chicago, and Advancing Justice-Los Angeles.
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