Prestigious Yale University has been accused of discriminating against Asian Americans and white applicants in its undergraduate admission process. The controversial findings were a result of two-year investigation conducted by the the Department of Justice following a complaint received against Yale, Brown and Dartmouth from a coalition of Asian American groups.
The investigation conducted by the Department of Justice found the University violating the federal civil rights law. It stated that that race is a determining factor in hundreds of admission decisions each year.
Race Used at Multiple Steps of Admission Process at Yale
In its findings, released on the website, the DoJ stated that Yale discriminated on the basis of race and national origin in its undergraduate admissions process.
The department also alleged that the University uses race at multiple steps of its admissions process, which increases the effect of race on an applicant's chances of getting in.
Stating that the classes are also racially balanced at Yale, the DoJ said that such practices violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in programs that receive federal financial assistance.
During the investigation it was found that Asian American and white students at Yale have only one-tenth to one-fourth of the likelihood of admission as African American applicants with comparable academic credentials.
DoJ Asks Yale to Stop Considering Race as a Factor for Admissions
Cautioning the University that it must scrap the use of race or national origin as criteria in its next admissions cycle, the DoJ said that if it plans to consider race in the future, it must first submit to the Department of Justice a plan demonstrating its proposal is narrowly tailored as required by law, including by identifying a date for the end of race discrimination."
Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for the department's Civil Rights Division, said in a press release that there is no such thing as a nice form of race discrimination. "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," he added.
Yale Denies Allegations of Discriminating on the Basis of Race
Denying the charges of discrimination, Yale said that it looked at the whole person during the selection process. "At Yale, we look at the whole person when selecting whom to admit among the many thousands of highly qualified applicants. 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," said Karen Peart, a spokesperson of the University in a statement issued to CNBC.
Alleging that the Justice department did not consider the entire data and information provided by the university officials, the statement said that the were dismayed that the DOJ has made its determination before allowing Yale to provide all the information the Department has requested thus far. "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," added the statement.
Adding that they will not modify the policies, Yale said: "We are proud of Yale's admissions practices, and we will not change them on the basis of such a meritless, hasty accusation."