"Thorough and comprehensive analysis of the data and evidence makes clear that Harvard College does not discriminate against applicants from any group, including Asian-Americans, whose rate of admission has grown 29 percent over the last decade", Harvard said in a statement.
Rowers passed the campus of Harvard University, in March 2017, as they paddled down the Charles River in Cambridge, Mass. Harvard and the group Students for Fair Admissions filed dueling analyses of the Ivy League school's admissions data in a lawsuit alleging discrimination against Asian-American applicants.
On Friday, the two sides put out a flurry of motions, memoranda and declarations, seeking summary judgments and showing how they intend to argue the case - which goes to trial in mid-October.
The group states that Harvard assigns Asian American students the lowest score of any other racial group based on traits such as "positive personality" and "likability".
The claim by Students for Fair Admissions Inc came in a brief that sought to have a federal judge in Boston rule in its favour without a trial in a closely watched lawsuit accusing Harvard of discriminating against Asian-Americans. The school's Office of Institutional Research recently completed three reports that began in 2013, revealing that Asian-Americans faced a penalty in the admissions process.
Harvard's own reports offered no conclusions or explanations about why a gap in Asian-American admissions existed.
Harvard told the court in Boston that the plaintiffs' analysis paints "a dangerously inaccurate picture of Harvard College's whole-person admissions process by omitting critical data and information factors, such as personal essays and teacher recommendations".
The documents also show that Harvard has considered race-neutral admissions policies in recent years, including socio-economic factors and geography, but found that neither were sufficient.
The Trump administration a year ago signaled its support for the challengers and is conducting its own administrative review of Harvard admissions. It also cites higher scores in standardized tests for admitted Asian-American students compared to the university's average.
Blum's group says the report is proof of intentional discrimination and that Harvard 'killed the study and quietly buried the reports'.
Edward Blum, a legal strategist who founded Students for Fair Admissions, issued a statement saying his group's filing "exposes the startling magnitude of Harvard's discrimination".
Low rankings gained by Asian-Americans in categories such as likeability, kindness, courage and being "widely respected" dramatically reduced their chances of getting into Harvard despite gaining better academic results than other ethnic groups. In previous lawsuits, such as against the University of Texas, Blum enlisted white students as plaintiffs.
It marked a step forward in a lawsuit that has lasted almost four years and has drawn the attention of the U.S. Education Department, which is also looking into Harvard's use of race in admissions.
President of Students for Fair Admissions explains why they have filed suit against Harvard College for its admissions policies regarding Asian students. Blum's group said the public should have access to the records, and the U.S. Education Department - which is also looking into Harvard's use of race in admissions - weighed in to agree.