Wednesday, June 12, 2024
HomePolicyJustice Department Drops Discrimination Lawsuit Against Yale

Justice Department Drops Discrimination Lawsuit Against Yale


The Justice Department has dropped an affirmative action lawsuit filed by the Trump administration against Yale University last year which alleged that the school discriminated against Asian-American and White applicants in its undergraduate admissions process.

Yale has been under investigation by the Justice Department and Department of Education since 2018. The lawsuit was filed in October 2020 when the Justice Department, under the leadership of then-Attorney General William Barr, claimed that Yale had “rejected the scores of Asian-American and white applicants each year based on their race.”

The Biden administration’s decision to drop the lawsuit is a part of its efforts to reverse many Trump administration cases pending in federal courts across the country. 

Mixed Opinion

Several civil rights groups have expressed their support for the administration’s decision. Director of the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, David Hinojosa, stated the decision was a part of “advancing equal educational opportunity and promoting racial diversity.”

“It has been proven in the courts that race-conscious admissions programs are lawful, and Black students and other students of color who come from all walks of life can rest a little easier knowing our government is looking to lift them up, not divide and suppress.” he wrote.

Senior Deputy Director of the Legal Defense Fund, Jin Hin Lee, also agreed with the decision, stating that the Yale lawsuit “had propagated false stereotypes of students of color and instigated divisions among — and even within — racial groups.”

Asian Americans Advancing Justice director of litigation, Niyati Shah, believes that the Justice Department’s decision affirmed suspicions that the lawsuit “did not have merit from the very beginning,” and that it was “clearly about playing politics for the purposes of dismantling affirmative action, which benefits so many students of color.”

“Statistics prove that Asian Americans overwhelmingly support affirmative action and understand that race-conscious admissions are necessary for educational equity and diversity in higher education,” she finished.

However, president of Students for Fair Admissions, Edward Blum, expressed that it was “disappointing” that the government dropped the case. CNN reported that Blum has stated plans to file another lawsuit against the school.

“Students for Fair Admissions intends to file a new lawsuit against Yale in the coming days. Discriminatory admissions policies like Yale’s must be challenged in federal court,” he said.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) also came out against the decision, saying in a statement that President Joe Biden is “scuttling DOJ’s federal lawsuit and preventing Yale from being held accountable.”

“I fear this is the first of many steps the Biden administration will take to politicize civil-rights law and give preferential treatment to well-connected allies,” he concluded.

Compliance Reviews Resume

Now that the department has dropped the lawsuit and withdrawn its notices of violation of Title VI and of noncompliance, it will resume compliance review with the university. President of Yale, Peter Salovey, said he is “pleased” with this development.

“Yale welcomes the chance to share information with the department, confident that our admissions process complies fully with decades of Supreme Court decisions,” he wrote in a statement on the Yale website.

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