DOJ Accuses Yale University of Discriminating Against White, Asian American Applicants

By Shani Saxon Aug 14, 2020

In an ongoing attempt to destroy affirmative action, the Trump administration announced Thursday (August 13) that a two-year investigation into Yale University admissions has determined that the Ivy League institution “illegally discriminates against white and Asian American applicants in the highly competitive process of choosing an undergraduate class,” The Washington Post reports. 

Reports The Post:

The probe was launched in 2018 after Asian American groups complained about Yale’s admissions. The department said it had concluded that the university gave too much weight to race in its consideration of applicants, in violation of federal civil rights law. “There is no such thing as a nice form of race discrimination,” Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for civil rights, said in a statement.

Yale immediately denied the Department of Justice‘s (DOJ) accusations after the agency’s announcement. The school said in in a statement obtained by The Post that it has no plans to change its practices “on the basis of such a meritless, hasty accusation,” according to The Post. 

Yale officials added, “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. 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.”

This isn’t the first time the Trump administration has accused an elite school of inappropriately weighing race in the admissions process. In 2019, the administration filed “briefs supporting plaintiffs’ views in a separate lawsuit challenging how Harvard uses race in admissions," The Post reports. 

Federal District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs ruled in favor of Harvard in that case, NPR reported at the time. According to The Post, the case is now pending in federal appellate court.

NPR reported that the Harvard case, which clearly relates to the Yale case, worries supporters of affirmative action because, should one of these cases make it to the Supreme Court, “race-conscious admissions could be eliminated.”

A multi-racial coalition of Harvard alumni—including individuals from Asian American, African American, Latinx, Native American and Pacific Islander communities—submitted an amicus brief in support of Harvard during that time.

“Asian Americans, including Chinese Americans like myself, benefit from affirmative action,” Sally Chen, a graduating Asian American Harvard student who participated in the brief, told NBC Asian America in May. “Every applicant has a different story to tell, and race can be a part of that story. Students deserve the opportunity to be recognized for it.”

Chinese American "Saturday Night Live" player Bowen Yang had some thoughts on the controversy, posting on his Instagram story that this type of action divides the AAPI community from the Black community, writing: "Asians continue to be used as a pernicious, fucked up assault on affirmative action" and "To white people, Asians’ otherness is interchangeable with Asians’ "proximity to whiteness." Quotation marks because the concept is itself a white invention. We are being glommed onto white people, today, on conditional terms. I fucking hate it."