Yale under fire for discriminative practices against whites and Asian-Americans


The Department of Justice in the United States on Thursday accused the Yale University of illegally discriminating against white and Asian-American applicants. The department threatened to file a lawsuit against the university if it refused to take “remedial measures”.

The Ivy League university has been found to have violated civil rights law in its undergraduate admissions process, according to a two-year-long investigation by the Department of Justice. “Yale uses race at multiple steps of its admissions process resulting in a multiplied effect of race on an applicant’s likelihood of admission,” the Department of Justice said in its report.

Yale violates federal civil rights law by showing bias against applicants based on race and national origin and making those criteria “the determinative factor” in hundreds of admissions decisions each year, the U.S. said in Thursday’s letter, threatening to sue the school by the end of the month if it persists.

Asian Americans and Whites have only one-tenth to one-fourth the chance of being admitted as African Americans with comparable academic credentials, according to the government.

“There is no such thing as a nice form of race discrimination,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband said in the letter. “Unlawfully dividing Americans into racial and ethnic blocs fosters stereotypes, bitterness and division.”

The letter, which comes amid a re-election campaign by Donald Trump that leverages race, demanded that Yale agree not to use race or national origin in selecting students for its next admissions cycle. If it considers those factors after that, the government said, it must first submit a plan showing its use of them is “narrowly tailored” as required by law, and must give a date for “the end of race discrimination.”

Yale said it has “cooperated fully” with the department’s investigation and “categorically denies” claims of discrimination. It considers factors beyond just test scores and grades, including extracurricular interests, leadership potential, an applicant’s background and how a student could contribute to the Yale community, spokesperson Karen Peart said in an email.

Yale University President Peter Salovey said the allegations were baseless.

“At this unique moment in our history, when so much attention properly is being paid to issues of race, Yale will not waver in its commitment to educating a student body whose diversity is a mark of its excellence.” The university added that it would not change its admission process “on the basis of such a meritless, hasty accusation”.

A university spokesperson said, “At Yale, we look at the whole person when selecting whom to admit among the many thousands of highly qualified applicants,” the statement said. “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 spokesperson also suggested that the Justice Department had not fully taken into account the information and data that university officials were providing.

“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,” Yale said in a statement.

The Justice Department is demanding that Yale agree not to use race or national origin in its upcoming 2020-2021 admissions cycle. It also gives Yale an opportunity to propose a “narrowly tailored” plan for using race in future admissions cycles, pending Justice Department approval.

Yale is not planning to modify its policies, according to its statement Thursday.

“We are proud of Yale’s admissions practices, and we will not change them on the basis of such a meritless, hasty accusation,” the university said.

The Justice Department said it found Yale’s use of race “is anything but limited.” It said the college uses race at numerous stages of its admissions process, resulting in “a multiplied effect of race on an applicant’s likelihood of admission.”