The U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation on Harvard University’s use of race in admissions, threatening to sue the Ivy League school if it continues to refrain from providing requested documents.
In letters sent last week, the Justice Department cited a 2014 lawsuit that accused the university of intentionally discriminating against Asian-Americans, the Wall Street Journal reported. It also set a Dec. 1 deadline for the required documents.
According to the agency, the university did not produce “a single document” despite a Nov. 2 deadline and that its attorney tried to “side-step Harvard’s Title VI obligations.”
Justice officials are referring to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits institutions that receive federal funding from discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin, Reuters noted.
Harvard has since asserted its compliance with U.S. laws. Spokesperson Anna Cowenhoven said in a statement:
“As we have repeatedly made clear to the Department of Justice, the university will certainly comply with its obligations under Title VI.
“In the process, we have an obligation to protect the confidentiality of student and applicant files and other highly sensitive records, and we have been seeking to engage the Department of Justice in the best means of doing so.”
In higher education institutions like Harvard, affirmative action helps minority students apply for their chosen programs. In essence, it supposedly addresses the problem of racial discrimination.
Harvard’s admission process draws public attention as it is among the world’s most selective universities, according to The Washington Post. From 39,506 applicants, only 2,056 were offered admission to the fall 2017 freshman class — 22.2% of whom were Asian-American.
Featured Photos: Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building (Left, Cropped/Collaged) via Coolcaesar/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0), Elizabeth Cary Agassiz House at Harvard University (Right, Cropped/Collaged) via Daderot/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)