Harvard sees decline in applications after anti-semitism scandal, ban on affirmative action

Mar 29, 2024 | Political News

On Thursday, Harvard released data for its 2024 intake, revealing that of the 54,008 applicants, 1,937 were granted admission. While the low acceptance rate is nothing new, what is notable is the fact that the number of prospective students hoping to study at the university went down to levels unseen since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The news comes following months of scandals involving university leadership, discrimination on campus in the wake of Hamas' October 7 massacre, and the Supreme Court's ruling that banned affirmative action policies.

According to the New York Post, Harvard received 5 percent fewer applications than last year, but admitted .17 percent more prospective students.

The Harvard Gazette buried the fact that the number of people hoping to study at the storied institution had declined, noting only that, “this marks the fourth consecutive year Harvard has received more than 50,000 applications.”

The Class of 2028 hailed from all 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Island, and 94 countries. Females made up a greater portion of those accepted, at 53.1 percent.

Harvard has been in the spotlight over the past few months, beginning with certain student groups' decision to release a joint statement essentially blaming Israel for the October 7 massacre.

University leadership only responded to the incident after facing backlash from the public, and even then their condemnation was lackluster at best. Now-former president Claudine Gay was slammed for her failure to properly address antisemitism on campus, and the school was eventually placed under investigation by the Department of Education.

Not long after, Gay's academic contributions were called into question, and it was revealed that she had allegedly plagiarized some of her work. This, among other things, eventually caused her to step down. 

In June, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that institutions of higher learning can no longer employ affirmative action tactics in their admissions process, barring applicants' race from being considered.