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The DOJ accuses Yale of ‘long-standing and ongoing’ discrimination against Asian, white applicants

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The Department of Justice Civil Rights (DOJ) division yesterday accused Yale University of discriminating against white and Asian students in favor of Black students, violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In a letter from the DOJ, the government accused Yale of not taking measures to stop such discrimination and of acting to advance discriminatory practices forever under the cover of admissions and other policies of the school.

“Yale’s race discrimination dates back more than four decades,” says a letter from Eric Dreiband, the DOJ’s Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, “to at least the 1970s, and Yale’s race discrimination contains no time limits. Instead, it appears that Yale intends to continue discriminating on the basis of race, apparently in perpetuity. Indeed, Yale admits that it intends to continue its race-based admissions process for the ‘foreseeable future.’”

The letter warns that the school, a longtime hub of liberal education and political power in the U.S., that “remedial measures” to stop discrimination must be enacted by Yale by August 27 or the government will pursue a Title VI lawsuit to force the school to ends its discriminatory policies.   

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act says that no person shall be denied the benefits of any program or activity funded by the federal government on the basis of race, color or national origin.

“The two-year investigation concluded that Yale ‘rejects scores of Asian American and white applicants each year based on their race, whom it otherwise would admit,’ the Justice Department said. The investigation stemmed from a 2016 complaint against Yale, Brown and Dartmouth,” reports the Associated Press.

“For example, data produced by Yale show that Asian American applicants have a much lower chance of admission than do members of Yale’s preferred racial groups,” says the DOJ, “even when those Asian Americans have much higher academic qualifications and comparable ratings by Yale’s admissions officers.”

Ivy league schools have long been accused of discrimination against white and Asian students. Previously, the government accused Harvard of similar discriminatory admission practices. In 2019, a federal court sided with Harvard, saying that schools can in fact discriminate, so long as the schools “narrowly tailored” racial bias in admissions and provided a date by which such practices will end. The government is appealing the decision.

Yale has also come under fire for intentionally deleting admissions documents that might have a bearing on how the school makes admission decisions on the basis of race. In 2015, the Yale Daily reported that Yale Law School (YLS) admitted that they destroyed admissions records after students began requesting their records.

“The deleted data includes numerical evaluations made by YLS administrators and faculty as well as the identities of those individuals,” says the Yale Daily. “The decision was made by law school administrators without notifying faculty or students, and only the first several FERPA requests to the law school were fulfilled before the school decided to eliminate its records.”

The pending DOJ complaint against Yale specifically charges that admission practices at the New Haven, Connecticut university are not narrowly tailored and lack the requisite end date to make them compliant with previous Supreme Court rulings on such practices under Title VI.

Yale said that the DOJ did not allow them sufficient time to respond to the allegations brought up in the investigation.

“Given our commitment to complying with federal law, we are dismayed that the DOJ has made its determination before allowing Yale to provide all the information the Department has requested thus far,” the university said according to the Associated Press.

“We are proud of Yale’s admissions practices, and we will not change them on the basis of such a meritless, hasty accusation,” said a statement by Yale.

The DOJ, however, said that practices that divide Americans by race also divide Americans into “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 added.

PHOTO: Stan Godlewski | The Washington Post | Getty Images

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