Trump Taking on Harvard in Asian-American Discrimination Case

The Trump administration called for Harvard to make student admissions records open to the public as the university battles a lawsuit brought by Asian-American students claiming discrimination practices in admissions.

Trump's Justice Department filed a notice of interest Friday and encouraged the federal judge overseeing the suit not to keep the records private.

"The public funds Harvard at a cost of millions of dollars each year, and thus has a paramount interest in any proof of these allegations, Harvard's responses to them, and the Court's resolution of this dispute," Justice lawyers said in the notice according to Politico.

The attorneys also claimed that the suit had "overlap" with the department's investigation and that its result could "bear on the scope and resolution of the United States' investigation and enforcement of federal civil rights laws."

The suit, dating back to 2014, involves Students for Fair Admissions claiming Harvard had discriminated against Asian Americans who applied. The students' group is opposed to the practice of affirmative action, while Harvard has pushed to keep the suit's proceedings from public view.

Harvard has previously denied discriminating against applicants.

The university claimed in a statement that prospective student records were "highly sensitive" and pledged to protect the data.

"Harvard College is responsible for protecting the confidential and highly sensitive personal information that prospective students—none of whom asked to be involved in this dispute—entrust to us every year in their applications," the school told Politico. "We are committed to safeguarding their privacy while also ensuring that the public has the access that it is entitled to under the law."

Back in November, the Justice Department began an investigation into Harvard's admission practices and warned a lawsuit could follow unless the school turned over records.

Last year Trump's administration had also shifted resources from the Justice Department's civil rights division to probe claims of the use of affirmative actions by universities, The New York Times reported in August citing internal department documents, though no specific schools were named or accused.