The US Department of Justice has withdrawn on Wednesday a lawsuit against Yale University filed last year by the Donald Trump Administration in which it accused the institution of discriminating against Asian-American and white students in its admission process . The previous government’s lawsuit established, after two years of investigation, that the prestigious university sought to favor certain applicants on the basis of race. Yale defends that its system has managed to gather a student body that is characterized by its academic excellence and diversity under the protection of the law.
Federal prosecutors who filed the lawsuit in October 2020 argued that the university violated civil rights laws because it “discriminates based on race and origin in its undergraduate admissions process, and that race is the determining factor in hundreds of admissions decisions. every year”. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that “no person in the United States shall be excluded on the basis of race, color, or origin from participation in any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance.” The lawsuit pointed out that Yale receives more than $ 600 million annually in federal funds.
In a statement, a Justice Department spokesman said Wednesday that “in light of all the facts, circumstances, and available legal developments,” they were withdrawing the lawsuit, but that an underlying investigation is still underway to ensure that Yale complies with the laws against discrimination. Among the “available legal developments” include the ruling of a federal judge who in 2019 rejected an accusation brought by Asian American associations against Harvard for intentionally discriminating against applicants from that community. The plaintiffs are expected to take the case to the Supreme Court.
“Our admissions process has enabled Yale College to assemble an unparalleled student body, distinguished by academic excellence and diversity,” responded university spokeswoman Karen Peart, who welcomed the decision of the Department of Justice of the Administration of Joe Biden. “Yale has made a strong case that its process fully complies with the Supreme Court precedent and we are confident that the Justice Department will agree,” he added.
The Trump Justice Department investigation stemmed from a 2016 complaint filed by a group of Asian American organizations, led by the Asian American Coalition for Education. The accusation was against the universities of Yale, Brown and Dartmouth. The Supreme Court has ruled that schools can consider race in admission decisions, which is understood as “positive discrimination”. Yale has said that it values the “whole” person when it comes to selecting who to admit from among thousands of “highly qualified” applicants.
According to a study cited in the complaint filed by the Asian-American associations against Harvard in 2014, said community registers the lowest acceptance rate in the university’s admission processes in relation to its score. Specifically, they need to score 140 points more than a white, 270 more than a Hispanic and 450 more than an African American. Edward Blum, president of Students For Fair Admissions, which led the lawsuit against Harvard, regretted the Justice Department’s decision. “Students for Fair Admissions intend to file a new lawsuit against Yale in the next few days. Discriminatory admission policies such as Yale’s must be challenged in federal court, ”the attorney said in a statement.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.