Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice informed Ivy League institution Yale University to change its admissions policies because they discriminated against Asian-American and white applicants. It is not the only Ivy League higher education institution facing charges of racial discrimination, as Harvard University is embroiled in a similar lawsuit.
As Inside Higher Ed reported, the DOJ recommended that Yale should change its policies on race and ethnicity in applications because it violated Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division said, “There is no such thing as a nice form of race discrimination.” He added, “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.”
If Yale does not comply with the DOJ’s recommendation by August 27, the federal agency will sue the university. The DOJ said that Yale’s race and ethnicity policies differed from those of the University of Texas-Austin, which were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016.
In the letter to Yale, the federal agency claimed that Yale “grants racial and national origin preferences in favor of African American, Hispanic, and certain other applicants and disfavors most Asian American and white applicants.” The university’s data “show that Asian American applicants have a much lower chance of admission… even when those Asian Americans have much higher academic qualifications and comparable ratings by Yale’s admissions officers,” the DOJ stated. It added that Asian American applicants were admitted at a rate “below their proportion of the applicant pool.”
Yale said it disputed the DOJ’s claims and that it “categorically denies this allegation.”
Asian Americans sued Harvard over its allegedly discriminatory admissions policies, which Harvard denied that it practiced. In October 2019, a federal judge ruled in favor of Harvard, but the case is being appealed.