A Justice Department lawsuit alleges Yale University violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 because it discriminates against some students on the basis of race and national origin.
“Yale’s race discrimination includes imposing undue and unlawful penalties on racially disfavored applications, including in particular most Asian, and white applicants,” charges the filing in U.S. District Court in Connecticut.
The discrimination has been going on for “at least 50 years,” it claims.
“Yale has engaged in this race discrimination despite receiving millions of dollars off federal taxpayer funding subject to Title VI’s restrictions. Yale’s race discrimination violates Title VI’s requirement that no person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Courthouse News reported the focus is on students in Yale’s undergraduate programs.
The enforcement action follows a two-year review that discovered Asian-American and white applicants had only about a 10% to 25% chance of being admitted compared to African-American applicants with similar academic scores.
The university claims it has a compelling interest in discriminating because of “diversity,” but it doesn’t “sufficiently defin[e] its diversity goals” or even articulate “any standards to measure achievements of its diversity goals,” the action states.
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Yale President Peter Salovey claimed the university doesn’t discriminate on race or ethnicity.
“Our admissions practices are completely fair and lawful,” he said.
The university will not change its practices for admission, said Salovey.
Courhouse News reported lawyers for the government said they offered Yale an opportunity for voluntary compliance without litigation.
But Yale declined.
While the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed the consideration of race as one of multiple factors in admissions, the allegation is that Yale has been using race “at multiple steps” of the process.
The government charges that the university assigns a value to applicants based “on racial categories per se – apart from the applicants’ personal and individual challenges.”
And its practices are not “narrowly tailored to a compelling interest.”
The DOJ charged that while Yale “purports to utilize a ‘holistic’ review of applicants,” it actually uses race as a “significant and the determining factor for hundreds of applicants each admissions cycle.”
Significantly, the DOJ charges, “Yale treats applicants differently based on their race. Yale favors some applicants because of their race. Yale penalizes other applicants because of their race.”