After receiving several complaints, the Ivy League institution was told to change its admissions process. Yale has confirmed that they will not comply.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the United States Justice Department accused Yale University of discriminating against white and Asian students. They argued that the Ivy League institution rejected "scores of Asian American and white applicants each year based on their race." After surveying admission documents, the department found that when confronted with two students of similar credentials, Yale's admissions department was biased towards African American students in comparison to students of the formerly mentioned races. The accusation is the culmination of a two-year-long civil rights investigation initiated when groups of Asian American students complained about affirmative action policies, CNN reports.
The allegation also represents the latest move by the Trump administration to undermine Yale University's affirmative action policies, which have historically helped bolster racial diversity in higher education. As per the Justice Department, these policies and the institution's wider-reaching admissions processes are "a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act." Therefore, Yale is expected to withhold the use of race or national origin in its upcoming admissions cycle or, alternatively, get the Department's sign-off on a plan that continues to use it. Of course, as one would expect, the Ivy League college has argued that its admissions processes comply with the Supreme Court precedent for civil rights.
Karen Peart, the school's director of university media relations, strongly affirmed that the institution does not plan to change its current system of admissions. "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," she stated. The Supreme Court has, for several decades now, upheld the right of educational institutions to utilize affirmative action policies. This has thus permitted universities to factor into the admissions process the race of an applicant, among many other factors. This helps campuses achieve the greater goal of campus diversity.
Just last year, a federal judge in Boston upheld the same precedent when an Asian American student group raised a similar complaint against Harvard University. She claimed that while the admissions process was "not perfect," it was in the educational institution's best interest to not "dismantle a very fine admissions program that passes constitutional muster, solely because it could do better." The Asian American group has since appealed that decision. Meanwhile, the Trump administration issued a "statement of interest" in the Harvard case, siding with the student group. The administration shared that it was investigating Harvard's admissions process after the Department of Education received complaints from more than 60 Asian-American groups. In the past and in direct contrast, the Obama administration has categorically rejected such complaints.