A group called Students for Fair Admissions is suing Harvard University, claiming that it systematically discriminates against Asian-Americans in its admissions process. The group forced Harvard to release internal documents about its admissions decisions, which showed that Asian-American students were downgraded for personal characteristics even when their test scores and grades were perfect.

Two important principles are clashing in this dispute. On one hand, there is the principle of merit-based admissions. On the other is the practice of affirmative action, weighting the scales to give places to students who are black and Hispanic who might have lower scores but have the ability to succeed at Harvard.

Here are some statistics.

The U.S. population is about 6% Asian, African Americans are 13%, whites are 61%, Hispanics are 18%.

The Harvard class of 2021 is 22% Asian, 14.6% African American, 11.6% Latino, and 2.5% Native American or Pacific Islander.

The goal of Students for Fair Admissions is to eliminate affirmative action and to base admissions entirely on objective statistics. Conservatives have rallied to the cause because they oppose affirmative action.

The dilemma that Harvard and other elite institutions face is they they want to have a diverse student body. If they based admissions solely on tests and grades, their student body would have very few blacks or Hispanics, like New York City’s elite, exam-based high schools, where admission is determined solely by one test score, resulting in student bodies with few black or Hispanic students.

I hope that Harvard prevails, or racial segregation will intensify in executive suites and professions.