BOSTON (CBS/AP) — Dueling rallies were held in Boston and Cambridge focused on a lawsuit alleging racial discrimination at Harvard University.

A Sunday demonstration in Copley Square was organized by the Asian American Coalition for Education, a nonprofit civil rights group based in New Jersey. It was meant to back a lawsuit heading to trial Monday accusing Harvard of bias against Asian American applicants.

Speakers included Edward Blum, president of Students for Fair Admissions, the Virginia organization behind the lawsuit.

“Harvard has held Asian Americans to a different academic standard than African Americans, Hispanics, and whites. So during the last four years that we’ve gathered our evidence, we think that that evidence is compelling and we’ve asked the courts to compel Harvard to stop this discrimination,” Blum told WBZ-TV.

paulburton Dueling Rallies Focus On Bias Lawsuit Against Harvard

A diversity rally near the Harvard University campus. (Image Credit: Paul Burton/WBZ-TV)

Also Sunday, demonstrators rallied in Harvard Square in opposition to the lawsuit. The demonstrators say they represent more 30 Harvard student, alumni and staff groups and support campus diversity.

“Affirmative action is one of the most important ways that you can ensure you have a diverse class,” said Ivy Ian, a Harvard student.

Another student, James Matthew said, “race cannot be removed effectively from an application just because it is so central to so many people’s identity.”

Harvard denies any discrimination and says it considers the race of its applicants as one of many factors.

(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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