When former First Teen Malia Obama walks onto campus this coming fall, she’ll be part of a historic class.
The Harvard University incoming class is reportedly the school’s most diverse in the 380 years it has been around. Slightly more than half of the cohort, which consists of 2,056 people, will be made up of non-white students.
50.8 percent of the university’s incoming class are from minority groups, according to the BBC — a 3 percent jump from last year’s 47.3 percent. The breakdown is as follows:
22.2 percent, Asian American
14.6 percent, African American
11.6 percent, Hispanic or Latino
2.5 percent, Native American or Pacific Islanders
“To become leaders in our diverse society, students must have the ability to work with people from different backgrounds, life experiences, and perspectives,” Harvard spokesperson Rachael Dane told BBC.
“Harvard’s admissions process considers each applicant as a whole person, and we review many factors, consistent with the legal standards established by the US Supreme Court,” she continued, emphasizing that the university was “committed to enrolling diverse classes of students.”
Earlier this year, Harvard made headlines for a different kind of commitment to their incoming class.
University officials revoked the admission of at least 10 students who were planning to attend the university. Their reasoning? Memes. The former prospective students circulated controversial memes in a Facebook group called “Harvard Memes for Elitist 1% Tweens,” and once found, some students were not permitted to attend the college.
Additionally, this data on the incoming freshman class comes at a time when more attention than ever is on college admissions. A New York Times report suggested the Trump administration is re-opening a case on “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination,” though the Department of Justice has since claimed in a statement to Buzzfeed that the Times report that is inaccurate.
Still, the conversation about affirmative action continues to happen—and a lawsuit against Harvard that suggests race-based discrimination against Asian Americans is still pending. It was put on hold after the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Fisher vs. The University of Texas at Austin case.
Perhaps one of the students in the university’s Class of 2021 will have the answers for us in a few years from now.