Lawsuits alleging that discriminatory admissions practices kept qualified Asian-American students out of college are being attacked, by Asian Americans.
Cynthia Liu -- CEO and founder of the K12 News Network, and Jenn Fang -- who writes the social and cultural blog Reappropriate.co, have both lambasted the suits, aimed at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina, for recruiting Asian American as “model victims.” A petition decrying the legal action is also being circulated, as well the #IamNotYourWedge online campaign.
“I think the lawsuit is an appropriation of Asian Americans by conservative partisans to advance an anti-diversity agenda,” said Fang, 32, in an e-mail to NBC News. “Asian Americans are being used as cover."
The suits, filed in November by Students for Fair Admission, led by conservative activist Edward Blum, alleges that Harvard and UNC admitted substandard minority applicants because of their race, in violation of recent Supreme Court directives favoring race neutral policies.
Blum represented Abigail Fisher in a case against the University of Texas that went before the Supreme Court in 2013. Fisher -- who is white and was denied admission -- lost, but Blum hasn’t given up the fight, and this time, actively sought Asian-American plaintiffs with targeted ads.
“This is where I want to speak directly to Asian Pacific American parents,” said Cynthia Liu. “Why would you allow Edward Blum to label your child a “model victim’ for this lawsuit.”
Blum calls the allegations "silly."
"I give no credibility to someone who says we're using Asians as a tool to end affirmative action," he said. "I think Americans left, right and center agree that race should not be part of the decision making process in higher education.”
In Harvard's Class of 2018, Asian Americans were the largest minority group admitted with 20 percent. One recent regional survey showed strong support among Asian Americans for affirmative action programs.