Justice Department Suits Yale University on Admission Practices



The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Yale University on Thursday, alleging that the school violated federal civil rights law by discriminating against Asian-American and white applicants for undergraduate admission.

In a complaint filed in federal district court in Connecticut, the Justice Department alleged that Yale’s “standard, deliberate, deliberate use of the breed for the last few decades subjected domestic, non-transfer applicants at Yale College to discrimination on race ground” is. . “

The lawsuit marks a rise in the Trump administration’s scrutiny of elite colleges about their policies on race and admissions. The Justice Department has also supported legal efforts to end affirmative action at Harvard University, and the Department of Education said last month that it would investigate racism at Princeton University.

Yale said the Department of Justice claims were “based on inaccurate figures and baseless conclusions.”

“Peter does not discriminate against applicants of any race or ethnicity,” President Peter Salovey wrote in an email to students, teachers and staff. “Our entry methods are completely fair and valid. Yale’s entry policies will not change as a result of the filing of this baseless lawsuit. We look forward to defending these policies in court. ”

The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division said in 2017 that it would redirect resources towards investigating and prosecuting their affirmative action policies, with the division being taken under President Trump under a broader law. The division has made policy changes in civil rights enforcement, police reform and other areas.

“All individuals who apply for admission to colleges and universities must expect and know that they are not judged by their character, talent and achievements and the color of their skin,” said Eric Driband, assistant attorney general of the Civil Rights Division. “To do so would otherwise allow our institutions to promote stereotypes, bitterness and division.”

The Department of Justice launched an investigation into Yale in 2018 based on a 2016 complaint filed by a group of Asian-American organizations led by the Asian American Alliance with the Departments of Justice and Education.

The federal government threatened to withdraw the lawsuit in August, when it released the findings of a two-year review of Yale’s graduate admissions practices. At the time, the Justice Department said that Yale discriminated on the basis of race and national origin, and that race was a “determinant factor” in hundreds of admissions decisions each year.

It was then stated that Yale cannot use race or national origin in the current undergraduate admissions cycle. If the school proposed considering those factors in future admissions cycles, it should first submit a plan “showing that its proposal is necessarily consistent by law,” the Justice Department wrote to Yale’s lawyers. The letter stated that the proposal would also need to include a date by which Yale would end its use of race as a factor in entry.

Yale had two weeks to comply, the Justice Department said, or it would be prepared to file a lawsuit.

At the time, Yale President Peter Salovey called the Justice Department’s allegations baseless and said the school had fully supported the investigation. “However,” he wrote in a letter to the school community in August, “the DOJ completed its investigation before reviewing and receiving all the information requested.”

Dr. Salovey said Yale would not change its admissions process in response to the Justice Department’s request, “because the DOJ wants to impose a standard that is inconsistent with current law.”

Thursday’s complaint alleges that Yale engages in racial balance, similar to lower quotas. It added that the school puts the annual percentage of African-American admitted applicants within one percentage point of the previous year’s class, and it strikes an equal balance for Asian-American applicants.

The complaint states that Yale’s view of race maintains inappropriate stereotypes for many groups.

“Because Yale claims that its race discrimination is necessary to accept a substantial number of racially-biased applicants, mostly black and Hispanic applicants, Yale indicates that racial-sided applicants do not compete against Asian and white applicants. Can, ”said Sue. “Such race relies on discrimination and reinforces harmful race-based stereotypes.”

For most applicants, the Justice Department said, Asian-American and white applicants have one-quarter to one-quarter of admission, with comparable academic credibility to African-American applicants.

Yale says it relies on an overall review of applicants, including academics, leadership experience, their backgrounds, and more.

Universities should be allowed to consider the race of an applicant, in limited style, with the support of the Supreme Court’s four decades of ancestors in preparing their graduate classes. Schools say that diverse campuses have educational benefits, such as students preparing better for the global workforce.

Write Melissa Korn at [email protected] and Sadie Gurman in Sadie. [email protected]

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