After the Department of Justice issued a letter alleging Yale University has engaged in “longstanding and ongoing” racial discrimination in its admissions process — specifically against Asian American and white applicants — The New York Times has published a report with interviews from enrolled students who “disputed” that “the university discriminates against Asian American applicants.”
According to the Times, Yale students “widely criticized” the Trump administration’s finding, and many don’t believe the administration even has the relevant credibility to make the accusation in the first place.
“I think this is the oldest tactic in the book, to pit minority groups against each other,” Siddarth Shankar, a junior at the university who said he identified as Asian American on his application, told the news agency.
“When I talk to my Asian American friends, this is not what we wanted,” said Alec Dai, a student whose parents are from China, reports the news agency. “It’s not like people on campus were asking for this kind of justice that doesn’t exist.”
The Times briefly notes that two applicants who were rejected from Yale and are involved in a lawsuit against Ivy League schools agree with the DOJ, but the news agency reports that they were “reluctant” to speak on-the-record for fear of being mobbed online.
The report also cites one Asian American student who believes race “should just be perhaps weighted less” in the admissions process — not discarded completely — before the report includes even more interviews with students skeptical of the DOJ charge.
“Anti-Blackness and systematic racism and oppression, especially for Black Americans, is the more pervasive and the most important thing that we need to focus on right now,” said another student, reports the Times.
The Civil Rights division of the DOJ announced the findings on Friday, noting that they were “the result of a two-year investigation” of alleged racial discrimination in the admissions process.
“There is no such thing as a nice form of race discrimination,” Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “Unlawfully dividing Americans into racial and ethnic blocs fosters stereotypes, bitterness, and division. It is past time for American institutions to recognize that all people should be treated with decency and respect and without unlawful regard to the color of their skin.”
The DOJ purports that white applicants have a one-fourth likelihood of admission compared to African American applicants with similar academic achievement, and the figure is even lower for Asian American applicants.
In a statement to CBS News, the university emphatically denied the DOJ’s allegation, and said it has been cooperative in the investigation.
“Given our commitment to complying with federal law, we are dismayed that the DOJ has made its determination before allowing Yale to provide all the information the Department has requested thus far,” said Yale. “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.”
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