A Justice Department investigation found that Yale University has been illegally discriminating against both its Asian American and white applicants, putting them in violation of federal civil rights law, Associated Press reports.
The findings from the two-year investigation were detailed in a letter to the university’s legal team. “Yale’s race discrimination imposes undue and unlawful penalties on racially-disfavored applicants, including in particular Asian American and White applicants,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, who heads the department’s civil rights division, wrote in the letter. The Justice Department found that Yale “rejects scores of Asian American and white applicants each year based on their race, whom it otherwise would admit.”
The investigation stemmed from a 2016 complaint against Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth and is a part of recent efforts to root out discrimination in the college application process by the Trump administration. The Justice Department also previously sided with Asian American students, who made similar allegations against Harvard University.
Prosecutors say “that race is the determinative factor in hundreds of admissions decisions each year,” at the university. They also found that Asian American and white students have “only one-tenth to one-fourth of the likelihood of admission as African American applicants with comparable academic credentials.” The Justice Department claims that race plays a massive factor in multiple steps of the admissions process at Yale, who attempt to “racially balance its classes.”
Yale said it “categorically denies this allegation,” calling it “meritless” and “hasty.” The university said in a statement that it is being fully cooperative with the investigation, turning over “a substantial amount of information and data.” They also wrote that they consider many factors in the admissions process and look at “the whole person when selecting whom to admit among the many thousands of highly qualified applicants.”
The Supreme Court previously ruled that colleges and universities are allowed to consider race in admissions decisions, but that it must be done to promote diversity and be limited in time. Colleges also must prove that their consideration of race is appropriate. The Justice Department is requiring that Yale agree not to use race or national origin for upcoming admissions. Suppose the university wants to use race as a factor in future admission cycles. In that case, it must first submit a plan, “demonstrating its proposal is narrowly tailored as required by law, including by identifying a date for the end of race discrimination.”