Great Britain

Yale University ‘discriminates against white and Asian-American applicants’, Justice Department says

YALE "discriminates against white and Asian-American applicants," according to US officials.

On Thursday, the Department of Justice accused the university of illegally discriminating against Asian American and white applicants in its undergraduate admissions process.

The DOJ – headed by United States Attorney General William Barr – alleged that the Ivy League college was in violation of a US civil rights law following a two-year investigation.

Yale was informed in a letter from Civil Rights Division official Eric Drieband, according to the department's statement.

The college was told they must comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination regarding race, color or national origin – and the deadline to do so is August 27, 2020.

"Yale grants substantial, and often determinative, preferences based on race to certain racially-favored applicants and relatively and significantly disfavors other applicants because of their race," Drieband wrote.

"Yale’s race discrimination imposes undue and unlawful penalties on racially-disfavored applicants, including in particular Asian American and White applicants.

"The likelihood of admission for Asian American and White applicants who have similar academic credentials is significantly lower than for African American and Hispanic applicants to Yale College.

"For the great majority of applicants, Asian American and White applicants have only one-tenth to one-fourth of the likelihood of admission as African American applicants with comparable academic credentials."

Drieband cited data produced by Yale, which showed that Asian American applicants have a much lower chance of admission versus Yale's preferred racial applicants – even if they have "much higher academic qualifications and comparable ratings by Yale’s admissions officers."

The civil rights probe was in response to a complaint by Asian-American groups regarding Yale's conduct, the department said.

DOJ officials have threatened to take a lawsuit against the school located in in New Haven, Connecticut if it did not take "remedial measures."

Yale "categorically denies" the allegations but has cooperated fully with the investigation, according to a university spokesperson.

According to the elite school, the Justice Department made its findings before allowing Yale to provide requested documents.

"Had the Department fully received and fairly weighed this information, it would have concluded that Yales practices absolutely comply with decades of Supreme Court precedent," the spokeswoman said.

Although race can lawfully be considered in college admissions in limited circumstances, DOJ maintained that "Yale's use of race is anything but limited."

The Justice Department said it "uses race at multiple steps of its admissions process resulting in a multiplied effect of race on an applicants likelihood of admission."

Admission for Asian American and White applicants who have similar academic credentials is significantly lower than for African American and Hispanic applicants

Civil Rights Division official Eric Drieband

The department previously filed legal briefs in support of a lawsuit accusing Harvard University of discriminating against Asian Americans.

This suit was brought by affirmative action opponents but Harvard came out on top in Massachusetts.

A Boston judge ruled that the school's affirmative action program advanced a legitimate interest in having a diverse student body – but an appeal is pending.

Eventually, the case could reach the Supreme Court.

Affirmative action is supposed to address racial discrimination.

The Supreme Court ruled universities may use affirmative action to help minorities get into college.

However, its critics feel affirmative action can hurt white people and Asian Americans.

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