A closely watched lawsuit accusing Harvard University of discriminating against Asian-American applicants is approaching a critical juncture, as court filings later this week are expected to reveal new details about how the school’s undergraduate admissions process affects different ethnic and racial groups.
Both sides are due to submit lengthy documents Friday in Boston federal court that will serve as a preview for an October bench trial, in which a federal judge will decide whether the school’s affirmative-action practices are unconstitutional or illegal under federal civil-rights law.
The lawsuit against Harvard was filed in 2014 by Students for Fair Admissions, a nonprofit whose members include Asian-American students who were denied admission to Harvard.
The plaintiffs allege Harvard intentionally discriminates against Asian-Americans by limiting the number of Asian-American students who are admitted and holding them to a higher standard than students of other races.
Friday’s motions are likely to include thousands of pages of supporting documents both sides have gathered over the past two years, including dozens of depositions and statistical analyses of detailed admissions data covering six years, during which roughly 200,000 people applied to Harvard.