Harvard University Will Welcome Its First Majority-Nonwhite Freshman Class This Fall

Harvard University still faces a DOJ investigation over whether it discriminated against Asian-American applicants. (Image courtesy of Global Reviews.co).

For the first time in Harvard University’s 380-year history, the majority of students set to enter the Ivy League school as freshmen this fall are racial minorities, university officials said.

Of the 2,038 freshmen accepted into Harvard, 50.8 percent identify as nonwhite — a small, but significant jump from last year’s 47.3 percent, The Boston Globe reported. The school’s incoming class boasts an array of students from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds, including African-American (14.6 percent), Asian-American (22.2 percent), Latino (11.6 percent) and Native American (2.5 percent) scholars.

The Boston Globe reported that Harvard recruiters fanned out across the U.S., stopping in nearly 150 communities to meet with students, parents and high school counselors.

However, the university’s efforts to diversify its growing student body comes amid the U.S. Justice Department’s plans to investigate universities for affirmative action policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants, according to a New York Times report published on Aug. 1.

Officials with the department later clarified that the internal document obtained by The New York Times was actually a job posting related to a single complaint that accused Harvard and other Ivy League schools of discriminating against Asian-American applicants, TIME reported. They said the DOJ had no plans of launching a broader investigation into other university’s affirmative action policies.

“The posting sought volunteers to investigate one administrative complaint filed by a coalition of 64 Asian-American associations in May 2015 that the prior administration left unresolved,” department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said.

On Wednesday, Harvard defended its admissions practices, noting that the university “remains committed to enrolling a diverse class of students.”

“Harvard’s admissions process considers each applicant as a whole person, and we review many factors, consistent with the legal standards established by the U.S. Supreme Court,” university spokeswoman Rachael Dane told the Boston Globe.

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