Feds threaten to sue Harvard to obtain admissions records

Elias Hubbard
November 23, 2017

The DoJ also has accused Harvard of failing to cooperate with its own investigation into the same alleged admissions practices, the paper said.

The Trump administration's Department of Justice is probing Harvard University's admissions process for allegedly discriminating against Asian applicants.

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.

"The Department is left with no choice but to conclude that Harvard is out of compliance with its Title VI access obligations.We sincerely hope that Harvard will quickly correct its noncompliance and return to a collaborative approach", the letter said.

A November 17 letter from the department gives Harvard until December 1 to turn over a variety of records that Justice officials requested in September, including applications for admission and evaluations of students.

Justice officials say Harvard has pursued a "strategy of delay" and hasn't provided a single record.

The investigation began after a lawsuit was filed alleging the Ivy has a cap on the number of Asian-American students accepted each year.

A statement from Harvard on Tuesday said it will "certainly comply with its obligations" but also needs to protect confidential records related to students and applicants.

The building on Harvard's campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the admissions decisions under investigation by the Justice Department take place.

The Wall Street Journal report notes that an Obama-era leader of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, Vanita Gupta, called the Harvard investigation "highly irregular" because the Department of Education had previously dismissed the 2015 complaint.

Edward Blum, the activist who lodged the 2014 complaint against Harvard and recruited Fisher as a poster child for "reverse racism," is particularly relentless in this regard; a New York Times profiledescribed him as "a one-man legal factory with a growing record of finding plaintiffs who match his causes, winning big victories and trying above all to erase racial preferences from American life".

"Harvard's Asian quotas have been ignored by our federal agencies for too long".

The Supreme Court a year ago upheld race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas but said the ruling didn't necessarily apply to all other schools. "This investigation is a welcome development". For its part, Harvard cited student privacy concerns and questioned the department's authority to investigate the complaints almost three years after they were first raised.

"For obvious reasons, the Department of Justice generally does not share its civil investigative case files with the targets of its investigations", the department responded.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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