Yale University ‘Illegally Discriminates’ Asians and Whites in Admissions Process, According to DOJ

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Following a two-year investigation into Yale University’s undergraduate admissions process, the Department of Justice has deemed the practice to be discriminatory toward Asian and White students.

The DOJ’s findings: The investigation, which was based on a complaint by Asian American groups against Yale over its undergrad admissions process in 2016, found on Thursday that the Ivy League school violated Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

  • In its press release, DOJ noted that Yale has been using race as “the determinative factor in hundreds of admissions decisions each year.”
  • The report revealed that Asian American and White students are only one-tenth to one-fourth as likely to be admitted to the New Haven, Connecticut, university as Black students with “comparable academic resumes.”
  • “Yale rejects scores of Asian American and White applicants each year based on their race, whom it otherwise would admit,” the release further noted. 
  • The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division assistant attorney general Eric Dreiband posits: “There is no such thing as a nice form of race discrimination. Unlawfully dividing Americans into racial and ethnic blocs fosters stereotypes, bitterness, and division. It is past time for American institutions to recognize that all people should be treated with decency and respect and without unlawful regard to the color of their skin.”
  • Based on the report, Yale is also accused of racially balancing its classes.
  • The DOJ has since urged Yale to stop using race or national origin as part of its criteria in its next admissions cycle.
  • Should the university decide to continue using race in its admission process, it may do so by first submitting a plan to the department that demonstrates its “proposal is narrowly tailored as required by law, including by identifying a date for the end of race discrimination.”

Yale’s response: Yale spokeswoman Karen Peart has stated that the school is not planning to change its admission processes, denying the discriminatory allegations.

  • “At Yale, we look at the whole person when selecting whom to admit among the many thousands of highly qualified applicants,”  Peart was quoted by CNBC as saying.
  • “We are proud of Yale’s admissions practices, and we will not change them on the basis of such a meritless, hasty accusation,” she added. 
  • Peart argued that the conclusions made by the DOJ were before they had given enough information to prove that Yale’s practices comply with “decades of Supreme Court precedent.”
  • The Justice Department also sent a separate letter warning  Yale that if it refuses to agree to the demanded changes by Aug. 27, it will be prepared to file a lawsuit.

Harvard University’s case: Harvard faces similar issues with the Justice Department and Students for Fair Admissions, a group representing Asian American students who have been rejected by Harvard.

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  • In its lawsuit, Students for Fair Admissions accused Harvard of admissions bias for favoring Black and Hispanic students while disfavoring Asian American ones.
  • In October, a federal judge ruled in Harvard’s favor, but the group appealed in February. Arguments for the case will be held in September.

Feature Image via Getty

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