Yale University illegally discriminates against Asian American and White applicants during the admissions process, the Department of Justice said Thursday following an investigation.
The DOJ informed Yale in a letter from Civil Rights Division official Eric Drieband that it reached the conclusion after a two-year investigation triggered by a complaint from Asian American groups.
“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,” said Drieband in the letter. “Yale’s race discrimination imposes undue and unlawful penalties on racially-disfavored applicants, including in particular Asian American and White applicants.”
As a condition of “receiving millions of dollars in taxpayer funding,” the letter said the Ivy League university must agree to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in programs and activities receiving financial assistance from the federal government.
The university responded that it “cooperated fully with the DOJ’s investigation” and produced “substantial” information for it, but that it has not finished compiling all the data.
“We are dismayed that the DOJ has made its determination before allowing Yale to provide all the information the Department has requested thus far. Had the Department fully received and fairly weighed this information, it would have concluded that Yale’s practices absolutely comply with decades of Supreme Court precedent,” said Karen N. Peart, a spokeswoman for Yale, in a statement.
The DOJ also claims that race is the determinative factor in hundreds of admissions decisions each year.
“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.”
Yale has discriminated for decades, according to the DOJ, and it appears the university “intends to continue discriminating on the basis of race, apparently in perpetuity. Indeed, Yale admits that it intends to continue its race-based admissions process for the “foreseeable future.”
But the statement from the school said that the university looks “at the whole person when selecting whom to admit among the many thousands of highly qualified applicants.”
“We take into consideration a multitude of factors, including their academic achievement, interests, demonstrated leadership, background, success in taking maximum advantage of their secondary school and community resources, and the likelihood that they will contribute to the Yale community and the world.”
The DOJ is demanding Yale agree not to use race or national origin in the upcoming 2020-21 undergraduate admissions cycle, or submit a plan to the Justice Department demonstrating a proposal, “narrowly tailored as required by law… Any such proposal should include an end date to Yale’s use of race. “