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Yale U

Justice Department sues Yale University over admissions policy

Oct. 9, 2020
Government lawyers say the university's admissions process has discriminated against white and Asian-American applicants.

The U.S. Justice Department contends in a lawsuit that Yale University has discriminated against white and Asian-American applicants during its rigorous admission process.

The New York Times reports that a Justice Department investigation has found that white and Asian-American applicants were one-eighth to one-fourth as likely to be admitted as African-American applicants with the same academic credentials.

“Illegal race discrimination by colleges and universities must end,” Assistant Attorney General Eric S. Dreiband said in a news release about the lawsuit. He added: “All persons who apply for admission to colleges and universities should expect and know that they will be judged by their character, talents, and achievements and not the color of their skin. To do otherwise is to permit our institutions to foster stereotypes, bitterness, and division.”

Yale’s president, Peter Salovey, said in a statement that the allegation of racial discrimination was based on “inaccurate statistics and unfounded conclusions,” several of which the university tried to correct before the department filed suit.

“I want to be clear: Yale does not discriminate against applicants of any race or ethnicity,” Mr. Salovey said. “Our admissions practices are completely fair and lawful. Yale’s admissions policies will not change as a result of the filing of this baseless lawsuit.”

In August, the Justice Department accused Yale of violating federal civil rights law, in an escalation of the Trump administration’s moves against race-based admissions policies at elite universities. The department demanded that the university stop considering race or national origin in its next admissions cycle or face a federal lawsuit.

Legal experts saw the department’s finding against Yale as an extension of conservative legal efforts to end race-based college admissions policies.

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