Justice Department finds Yale University racially discriminated against white and Asian-American applicants

by Peter Heck · Aug 14th, 2020 8:34 am

Last Updated Aug 19th, 2020 at 9:01 am

A two-year Justice Department investigation into Yale University's undergraduate admissions process has revealed that that the school "illegally discriminates" against both white and Asian-American applicants.

The Attorney General's office said Thursday that Yale used race as the determining factor in admissions decisions in hundreds of cases every year. When prospective students with comparable academic records applied to Yale, Asian-American and white applicants were one-tenth to one-fourth as likely to be admitted as African-Americans.

In a press release, the Justice Department pointed out that this conduct put Yale in direct violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

"There is no such thing as a nice form of race discrimination," said Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the department's Civil Rights Division, in the press release. "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."

Forty years of Supreme Court precedent indicates that colleges and universities may consider an applicant's race during admissions, so long as it is done in a limited fashion. Investigators said that the degree to which Yale was using race was "anything but limited."

To make amends, the Justice Department has ordered Yale to agree not to use race or national origin as part of its admissions process next year. If the school plans to do so in the future, it requires Justice Department oversight.

"...It must first submit to the Department of Justice a plan demonstrating its proposal is narrowly tailored as required by law, including by identifying a date for the end of race discrimination."

The university has said it is in complete compliance with Supreme Court precedent.

"At Yale, we look at the whole person when selecting whom to admit among the many thousands of highly qualified applicants," said Karen Peart, a spokeswoman for the university. "We are proud of Yale's admissions practices, and we will not change them on the basis of such a meritless, hasty accusation."


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