Lawsuit against Yale’s alleged discriminating admission process dropped by DoJ


On Wednesday, February 3, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) dismissed a lawsuit against Yale University alleging that they used discriminative policies against white and Asian students in its admissions process.

Late last year, the Justice Department of the Trump administration filed the suit, to target university admissions processes and challenge federal civil rights policies on racial inclusivity, including affirmative action, which right-wing lawmakers have routinely attacked.

However, now President Joe Biden had made racial equity a top priority of his administration. In accordance to that the US attorneys announced that the government dropped the lawsuit in a federal district court filing.

The US Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld race-conscious admissions processes. But last year, the Justice Department under the former president announced: “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.”

Officials accused Yale of relying on race “at multiple steps of its admissions process resulting in a multiplier effect of race on an applicant’s likelihood of admission.”

Yale had denied the allegations that its admissions practices were discriminatory. In a statement, spokeswoman Karen Peart said that the school was “gratified” by the DOJ’s decision.

Its president Peter Salovey said, “I want to be clear. Yale does not discriminate against applicants of any race or ethnicity. 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.”

“Our admissions process has allowed Yale College to assemble an unparalleled student body, which is distinguished by its academic excellence and diversity,” Peart said.

Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) in a statement told indica News, “Yes, we were part of the Asian American Coalition for Education in Harvard Case and the Indian Americans students would like to see equal opportunity with students of other races, period.”

He added, “We have no problem, if African and Hispanic students are given due considerations to increase their admission rate, however, in the open competition, all races should be treated equally,” Dr. Abraham added.

Wednesday’s action marks another reversal under Joe Biden’s administration from his predecessor, including a series of executive actions striking at the core of the former president’s anti-immigration, climate and civil rights agendas.

The previous administration also made similar allegations about Harvard University’s admissions process, which a federal appeals court rejected last year.

“Yale is gratified that the US Justice Department has dropped its lawsuit challenging Yale College’s admissions practices,” university director of media relations Karen Peart said in a statement to The Independent.

“We are also pleased that the Justice Department has withdrawn its notice of violation of Title VI and its notice of noncompliance.  The Justice Department’s decision in August 2020 to issue the notice of violation unexpectedly and precipitously cut off an exchange of information that Yale looks forward to resuming.”

“Yale welcomes the chance to share information with the department, confident that our admissions process complies fully with decades of Supreme Court decisions,” Salovey said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Today’s news comes at the start of a new semester, which is a time of reflection and recommitment to Yale’s mission of educating future leaders who will serve all sectors of society,” he said. “Our ability to realize this shared mission relies on an admissions process that looks at the whole applicant: where applicants come from, what they have accomplished, and what they hope to achieve at Yale and after graduation. In this way, we create an incoming class that is richly diverse – with invaluable benefits to our students, faculty, and community.”

Robert Rock, an attorney and partner at Tully Rinckey in Albany, N.Y., said the decision to drop the Yale suit makes clear the priorities of President Biden and his Justice Department.

“You have one administration that is going to be more protective and more of a promoter of diversity than the prior,” Rock said. “I don’t think the Trump administration actually shared those views.”

Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, said he supports the department’s reversal. The national group represents college presidents.

“We applaud the Department of Justice for dropping this unwarranted and politically motivated lawsuit,” Mitchell said in a statement.

“We are optimistic that this sends a strong signal that the Department of Justice will continue to recognize the importance of allowing higher education institutions to follow the law of the land and consider race as one factor in a holistic admissions review.”