U.S. sues Yale for alleged bias against Asian and white applicants
From Jonathan stamp
(Reuters) - The US Department of Justice sued Yale University Thursday, accusing the Ivy League school of illegally discriminating against Asian and white applicants in admitting students.
The lawsuit escalates pressure from the Trump administration against positive action in elite college admission after publicly supporting a lawsuit by Asian American students accusing Harvard University of discriminating against them.
The Justice Department said Asian-American and white applicants were typically only an eighth to a quarter of the chance of being admitted to Yale as similarly qualified black applicants.
In a complaint to federal court in New Haven, Connecticut, where Yale is based, the Department of Justice said Yale's practices violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Yale must comply with this law to receive federal funding, which, according to the government, amounts to more than $ 630 million annually from the Department of Health and Human Services alone.
Applicants must be judged "on their character, talents and achievements, not the color of their skin," said Eric Dreiband, assistant attorney general for civil rights. "If we do something else, our institutions can encourage stereotypes, bitterness and division."
Thursday's lawsuit followed a two-year investigation into Yale's practices.
"Yale does not discriminate against applicants of any race or ethnicity" and will not change its admissions policy because of the "unfounded" lawsuit, said its president Peter Salovey. "We look forward to defending this policy in court."
The school has 6,057 students and typically only accepts 6% of applicants for admission.
Harvard is awaiting a ruling from the Boston Federal Court of Appeals on its licensing practices.
A federal judge upheld it last year after finding the school had no viable "racially neutral alternatives" to building a diverse student body.
The US Supreme Court has allowed races to be used for college admission to promote diversity in the classroom. Opponents of positive action hope that the court's conservative majority could end the practice in a future case.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Chris Reese, Rosalba O'Brien, and Diane Craft)
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