On Thursday the Department of Justice (DOJ) determined Yale University illegally discriminated against white and Asian people. The conclusion is the result of a two-year investigation into the school’s undergraduate admissions practices in response to a complaint by Asian American groups.
Its multi-year probe found Yale violated Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act barring discrimination by using race as a “determinative factor in hundreds of admissions decisions each year,” according to the DOJ press release. “For the great majority of applicants, Asian Americans and whites have only one-tenth to one-fourth of the likelihood of admission as African American applicants with comparable academic credentials. Yale rejects scores of Asian American and white applicants each year based on their race, whom it otherwise would admit.”
“There is no such thing as a nice form of race discrimination,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said in a statement.
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. In 1890, Frederick Douglass explained that the ‘business of government is to hold its broad shield over all and to see that every American citizen is alike and equally protected in his civil and personal rights.’ The Department of Justice agrees and will continue to fight for the civil rights of all people throughout our nation.
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The Justice Department explained that while the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled universities raking in federal dollars may consider applicants’ race, academic institutions must consider it as one of many factors. Yet prosecutors determined Yale “uses race at multiple steps of its admissions process resulting in a multiplied effect.”
The DOJ has demanded Yale refrain from using race or national origin in its next class of admissions this fall. If it does, Yale is requested to submit plans to the department to ensure its admission criteria complies with federal non-discrimination laws.