Feds sue Yale, allege discrimination against applicants
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department sued Yale University Thursday, weeks after prosecutors found the university illegally discriminating against Asian American and white applicants in violation of federal civil rights law.
The lawsuit, filed in Connecticut federal court, alleges that Yale "discriminated on the basis of race and national origin in the student admissions process, and that race is the determining factor in hundreds of admissions decisions each year."
It comes about two months after the Justice Department publicly accused Yale of discrimination. His research found that Asian American and white students were "only one-tenth to one-fourth the likelihood of being accepted as African-American applicants with comparable academic qualifications".
Yale called the lawsuit "unfounded" and said the licensing practices were fair and lawful. A statement from the university president said Yale will not change its admissions practices as a result of the lawsuit.
"With our country grappling with pressing issues of race and social justice, I have never been more certain that Yale's approach to student admission will help us fulfill our mission to make the world a better place today and for future generations," wrote President Peter Salovey.
The Justice Department's move is the Trump administration's latest in a longstanding quest to root out discrimination in the college application process after students filed complaints about the application process at some Ivy League colleges.
The Justice Department investigation, which emerged from a complaint against Yale, Brown and Dartmouth in 2016, also found that Yale uses race as a factor in several steps in the admissions process and that Yale "racially balances its classes," officials said.
"All individuals applying for college and university admission should expect and know that they will be judged on their character, talents and accomplishments, not their skin color," said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband, who heads the division's civil rights Classification. "If we do something else, our institutions can encourage stereotypes, bitterness and division."
In August, the Justice Department urged Yale to immediately stop and agree not to use any race or national origin for upcoming admissions, but officials said the university had refused.
The Supreme Court has ruled that colleges and universities may think about race when making admissions decisions, but has stated that this must be narrow to promote diversity and should be limited in time. Schools also bear the burden of showing why their consideration of race is appropriate.
Yale has stated that its practices are in line with decades of Supreme Court precedent and that it takes into account a variety of factors and "considers the whole person in selecting who will be admitted from among the many thousands of highly qualified applicants."
Boston associate press writer Collin Binkley contributed to this report.
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