On Thursday, the Dept of Justice notified Yale University of its findings that Yale illegally discriminates against Asian-American and white applicants in its undergraduate admissions process in violation of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
The findings come after a two-year investigation in response to a complaint by Asian American groups.
“There is no such thing as a nice form of race discrimination,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division in a release Thursday. “Unlawfully dividing Americans into racial and ethnic blocs fosters stereotypes, bitterness, and division.”
The release said that a condition of receiving millions of dollars in taxpayer funding, Yale expressly agrees to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.
“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,” the DOJ said in the release. “Yale rejects scores of Asian American and white applicants each year based on their race, whom it otherwise would admit.”
Although the Supreme Court has held that colleges receiving federal funds may consider applicants’ race in certain limited circumstances as one of a number of factors, the Department of Justice found Yale’s use of race is anything but limited.
Yale uses race at multiple steps of its admissions process resulting in a multiplied effect of race on an applicant’s likelihood of admission, and Yale racially balances its classes.
In a letter to Yale with the subject “Notice of Violation of title VI of the Civil Rights at of 1964,” the DOJ described Yale’s discrimination as long-standing and ongoing, and that they had reviewed reviewed extensive documentation related to Yale’s undergraduate admissions process, interviewed admissions officials, and analyzed voluminous admissions data, and determined Yale uses race to certain racially-favored applicants.
“Data produced by Yale show that Asian American applicants have a much lower chance of admission than do members of Yale’s preferred racial groups, even when those Asian Americans have much higher academic qualifications and comparable ratings by Yale’s admissions officers. Every year from 2000 to 2017, Yale offered admission to Asian American applicants to Yale College at rates below their proportion of the applicant pool. During this same 18-year period, Yale offered admission to White applicants at rates below their proportion of the applicant pool in a majority of years.”– letter from Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division, US Department of Justice
“Yale’s data and other information show that Yale is racially balancing its admitted class, with the major racial groups remaining remarkably stable for approximately the last decade,” Dreiband said in the letter.
The letter ends by saying if Yale fails to meet remedial measures by August 27, the DOJ may determine that compliance cannot be secured by voluntary means they will be prepared to file a lawsuit to enforce Yale’s Title VI obligations.
In a statement on Thursday afternoon, Yale’s President Peter Salovey said the school remains steadfastly committed to diversity.
Salovey said Yale had produced large quantities of documents and data, and that the DOJ concluded its investigation before reviewing and receiving all the information requested.
“The department’s allegation is baseless,” he wrote, adding that the DOJ inexplicably rushed to conclude its investigation.
“Yale College will not change its admissions processes in response to today’s letter,” he continued.
“We will continue to create a student body that is rich in a diverse range of ideas, expertise, and experiences. Such a student body greatly enhances students’ academic experiences and maximizes their future success. By bringing people of different backgrounds, talents, and perspectives together, we best prepare our students for a complex and dynamic world.”– Yale University President Peter Salovey