Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President and Fellows of Harvard College et al
Letter/request (non-motion) from Students, Amici Curiae Regarding Confidential Materials. (Greenbaum, Jon)
Case 1:14-cv-14176-ADB Document 398 Filed 04/09/18 Page 1 of 3
April 9, 2018
Hon. Allison D. Burroughs
U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse
1 Courthouse Way, Suite 2300
Boston, MA 02210
Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College No.
Dear Judge Burroughs:
We submit this letter on behalf of the students whose role as amici curiae was defined by this
Court in its prior 2015 Order, Docket No. 52 (“Students”). As previously indicated, Students are
a group of prospective and current Asian American, Black, Latino, and Native American students
who seek to protect Harvard’s right to consider race in admissions to the full extent allowed by
Consistent with this Court’s order,1 Students intend to vigorously participate in the upcoming
stages of this ligation by submitting briefs on dispositive motions, participating in any oral
argument on dispositive motions, submitting personal declarations and affidavits in support of
race-conscious admissions, and potentially filing a motion to participate in trial proceedings.
To this end, Students plan to attend tomorrow’s scheduled hearing and seek leave to discuss the
treatment of confidential material at the summary judgment stage. Students have reviewed the
parties’ proposed plans for addressing privacy concerns. As students who have applied to Harvard,
Students share Harvard’s concern that the personal information of prospective, current, and former
Harvard students should be sealed to the extent such information would make students personally
identifiable. Given the ease with which students can be identified – despite having their names
redacted – through both complex computer science techniques2 and even basic internet searches,3
Students likewise agree with Harvard that it is difficult to predict in advance which documents
should remain sealed. Thus, SFFA’s proposal of immediate, virtually unfettered public access to
the case record poses the serious risk of releasing Students’ and other applicants’ highly personal,
private information. Moreover, the potential for releasing personally identifiable information poses
Order at 23, June 15, 2015, ECF No. 52.
See, Paul Ohm, Broken Promises of Privacy: Responding to the Surprising Failure of Anonymization, 57 UCLA L.
Rev. 1701 (2010)(citing the growing body of computer science research on how supposedly anonmymized data can
be made identifiable).
Harvard Letter at 3, March 30, 2018, ECF No. 389.
Case 1:14-cv-14176-ADB Document 398 Filed 04/09/18 Page 2 of 3
the significant risk of subjecting Students and other students of color to harassment and harsh
public scrutiny given the highly publicized and highly charged nature of this case and SFFA’s
claim that underrepresented minorities are less deserving of admission to the most elite institutions.
In light of these compelling concerns over student privacy, Students support Harvard’s proposed
plan of gradually unsealing the summary judgment record. However, such a process should occur
as expeditiously as possible to ensure that Students have sufficient time to meaningfully participate
in any summary judgment briefing as contemplated by this Court. Students propose that the entire
unsealing process – deliberations, resolving disagreements, and redactions – be completed by June
25th, ten days after summary judgment materials are filed. This will allow Students sufficient time
to prepare any supporting brief by the current deadline of July 13, 2018.4 Similarly, Students
require comprehensive access to the case record to persuasively argue for the interests of Black,
Latino, Native American, and Asian American students who value Harvard’s right to consider race
in admissions. Students favor unsealing any documents, or parts of documents, that do not make
students personally identifiable.
An expeditious process that is limited to student-specific redactions will ensure that Students can
meaningfully aid this Court in its ultimate determination. Students anticipate they will supplement
Harvard’s defense of race-conscious admissions by making arguments about Harvard’s challenges
attaining a “critical mass” of underrepresented minority students (or “dynamic diversity”), about
the racial disparities embedded into the SAT and other measurements of “merit”, and about the
benefits that flow to Asian Americans under race-conscious admission policies that expand access
to underrepresented groups.
We look forward to joining tomorrow’s hearing and further discussing these matters.
/s/ Jon M. Greenbaum
Jon M. Greenbaum (pro hac vice)
LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL
RIGHTS UNDER LAW
1401 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005
Tel: (202) 662-8600
Scheduling Order, March 14, 2018, ECF No. 387.
Case 1:14-cv-14176-ADB Document 398 Filed 04/09/18 Page 3 of 3
/s/ Matthew Cregor
Matthew Cregor (BBO# 673785)
LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL
RIGHTS AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE
61 Batterymarch St., 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02110
/s/ Nicole Gon Ochi
Nicole Gon Ochi (pro hac vice)
ASIAN AMERICANS ADVANCING JUSTICE
1145 Wilshire Boulevards
Los Angeles, CA 90017
/s/ Lawrence Culleen
Lawrence Culleen (pro hac vice)
ARNOLD & PORTER LLP
601 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20004
(Please note new address)
ATTORNEYS FOR AMICI CURIAE
Cc: ECF Participants
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