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US Justice Dept accuses Yale University of discrimination against Asian Americans and White applicants in their admission process

The DOJ asked Yale to suspend considering race or national origins as a factor in its admissions process for one year, after which the university will have to seek permission from the government to begin using race as a factor again.

An investigation by the US Justice Department has found Yale University to be violating the US civil rights by illegally discriminating against Whites and Asian Americans applicants in the application procedure.

The department’s investigation, which took about two years for its completion, concluded that the Ivy League university based in New Haven, Connecticut rejected “scores of Asian American and White applicants each year based on their race, whom it otherwise would admit”. The investigation was ordered after a complaint of discrimination was lodged against Yale, Brown and Dartmouth in 2016.

However, the University has denied these allegations, calling them “meritless” and “hasty”.

While the US Supreme Court has allowed universities to consider the race of an applicant in making admission decisions, with a caveat that it must be “in certain limited circumstances as one of a number of factors”, the Department of Justice found out that Yale’s use of race was anything but limited and was used at “multiple steps of its admissions process”.

“The Department of Justice found Yale discriminates based on race and national origin in its undergraduate admissions process, and that race is the determinative factor in hundreds of admissions decisions each year,” it said.

Whites and Asian Americans hold only one-tenth to one-fourth chances of securing admission as opposed to African Americans of comparable credentials

In a detailed letter to the college’s attorney, the department said that Yale’s race discrimination levied undue and unlawful penalties on racially-disfavored applicants, including in particular Asian American and White applicants. The investigation concluded that Asian American and White applicants had “only one-tenth to one-fourth of the chances of securing admission as opposed to African American applicants with comparable academic credentials”.

The findings mark the latest Trump administration action against rooting out discrimination in the admission procedure of prestigious colleges, following widespread complaints from students about the process at some of the Ivy League colleges. Earlier, the Justice Department had filed court papers and sided with Asian American groups who had accused the Harvard University of racial discrimination.

The department asked Yale to suspend considering race or national origins as a factor in its admissions process for one year, after which the university will have to seek permission from the government to begin using race as a factor again.

Yale calls the allegations against it as baseless

However, Yale pledged to fight the directive, saying it would continue to adhere to its admissions process. In a statement released by the University, it said that it looks at the applicant as a “whole person” while deciding whether to admit that person, not just on his/her academic qualifications but a variety of other factors such as leadership skills, interests and the likelihood of that person contributing to the Yale community and the world.

Yale’s President, Peter Salovey, repudiated the allegations levelled by the Justice Department. “The department’s allegations are 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 admitting a student body whose diversity is a hallmark of his excellence,” he said.

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