US Justice Department accuses Yale of discrimination in admissions

Elias Hubbard
August 14, 2020

Its multi-year probe found Yale violated Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act barring discrimination by using race as a "determinative factor in hundreds of admissions decisions each year", according to the DOJ press release.

The department's finding - which Yale rejected as "meritless" - came after a two-year investigation into the undergraduate admissions process at the prestigious Ivy League university in New Haven, Connecticut.

A Yale spokeswoman said the university "categorically" denied the accusations.

Yale President Peter Salovey defended his school's application process when the investigation was first announced in 2018 by saying race is "one of a multitude" of factors weighed when deciding whether to accept someone or not.

U.S. conservatives have said that in helping black and Latino applicants, affirmative action could hurt white people and Asian Americans.

The letter blasted Yale, located in CT, saying that "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. The DOJ's investigation into Yale was kicked off by a complaint from the civil rights group Asian-American Coalition for Education that cited not only Yale, but also Brown and Dartmouth.

The Justice Department previously filed legal briefs in support of a lawsuit, brought by affirmative action opponents, accusing Harvard University of discriminating against Asian Americans.

The Supreme Court has technically ruled race can be a factor for colleges when they are deciding if they will accept a student, but it must be "narrowly tailored" and only a "plus factor" on top of other requirements. Schools also bear the burden of showing why their consideration of race is appropriate.

"At Yale, we look at the whole person when selecting whom to admit among the many thousands of highly qualified applicants", the university said.

The Department of Justice's report, published on Thursday, said that while the Supreme Court allows universities that receive taxpayer funding to use race as "one of a number of factors" during admissions, "Yale's use of race is anything but limited".

Last year, Harvard University was cleared of discrimination against Asian-American applicants by a federal judge following a lawsuit, although the ruling is now being appealed. Though the Supreme Court has ruled that colleges' use of race in admissions must be "narrowly tailored" and can be only a "plus factor", past rulings still give colleges wide latitude in considering a wide range of factors, including race, as they build their classes.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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