Is DOJ right to drop case accusing Yale of discriminating against White/Asian students?


Fact Box

  • Yale University is one of the United States’ most prominent Ivy League schools located in New Haven, Connecticut and founded in 1701. The school boasts its ability to “promote cultural understanding, improve the human condition, and train the next generation of world leaders.” 
  • On February 3, the Justice Department dropped the lawsuit against Yale for discriminating against White and Asian America student applicants. 
  • The case was originally spearheaded by Asian American groups calling out Yale for “violating the Civil Right Act,” and followed through by the Trump administration. The lawsuit said a two-year investigation determined that “White and Asian American students were one-tenth to one-fourth as likely to be admitted as African American applicants.”
  • With California v. Bakke (1978), the US Supreme Court ruled that the use of racial quotas was unconstitutional, but that “affirmative action” was approved in regards to admitting minority students to universities.

Andrew (Yes)

The Biden Administration’s Department of Justice is right to drop the discrimination lawsuit against Yale University because it is in keeping with the precedent set by the Supreme Court, which has consistently upheld challenges to affirmative action programs. This was most recently seen in the rejection of a case against Harvard in the First Circuit Court of Appeals. The decision in the case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin explained the court’s thinking that affirmative action programs are constitutional when targeted and designed to increase diversity. This case has already been decided, and the Biden Administration is right not to pursue it any further.

According to Yale, the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice reached its conclusion and filed its lawsuit before reviewing all of the facts. According to the University, the Department of Justice had not even received all of the data, let alone had time to assess it sufficiently. This perhaps reflects the Trump Administration’s oft-reported bias against universities more than a genuine desire to see fair admissions policies. The Biden Administration is right to correct this.

Yale is correct to work toward actively promoting diversity on its campus, and the Biden Administration’s recognition of this is a positive step toward racial justice. Diversity doesn’t happen magically, and certainly not in the most lauded of educational establishments, which have long had barriers to entry for minorities. It takes active policies and work to ensure diversity at every level of the educational system. By eliminating another needless court challenge to this work, President Biden is taking a step toward his goal of racial justice.

Morgan (No)

The lawsuit against Yale was initially filed for a reason. When determining someone's eligibility to enroll in a college or university, race shouldn't be a deciding factor. The Asian American Coalition for Education originally filed the lawsuit under the belief that 'race shouldn't play into admissions.' So, when Yale looks at race in deciding someone's eligibility, they are effectively saying race determines one's ability to succeed at their school, which raises many important questions. 

One of the reasons that the case was dropped is that people in Yale's community claimed it was 'meritless.' However, there was a two-year investigation based on private and public information regarding Yale's admission data to back up the lawsuit, as well as numerous organizations supporting the lawsuit's claims. 

The Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights claims that there is 'no such thing as a nice form of race discrimination.' If Yale doesn't see race as a factor that determines someone's ability to succeed academically, then they would have no issue with the lawsuit and simply remove the race factor from their undergraduate application. 

Yale is not the only university with a good reputation that has faced scrutiny over racial discrimination in its application process. Harvard also had a similar discrimination lawsuit filed against it in recent years. Clearly, there are issues with considering race as integral to the undergraduate admissions process. The logical move for these universities is to stop justifying their use of race and ask themselves why they feel the need for it to be on their applications at all.

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