Harvard University had until today, December 1st, to turn over years of admissions documents, including confidential applicant files, to the United States Department of Justice. As our regular readers may remember, on November 21st, we predicted — with the help of our famously accurate crystal ball — that Harvard would turn over neither the requested files nor redacted versions of these files but would instead choose to delay this deadline. The crystal ball gave yet another accurate reading. Harvard hasn’t yet released these files nor redacted versions of these files, though in a letter from Harvard’s lawyers to the Department of Justice, they have agreed to do so under certain conditions — certain very sensitive information will be redacted and the DOJ must review these files in the offices of Harvard’s lawyers so as to ensure confidentiality (and billable
babysitting legal hours we might add!).
Harvard Responds to Department of Justice Demand
As Anemona Hartocollis reports for “The New York Times” in a piece entitled “Harvard Agrees to Turn Over Records Amid Discrimination Inquiry,” “It was the first time that Harvard had agreed to provide access to records under terms that the Justice Department seemed receptive to. But it added a condition that allowed government lawyers to look at the records only in the offices of Harvard’s lawyers, according to people close to the case. That condition could make it difficult to do the kind of statistical analysis that the government has said it wants to do.
But Harvard has justified it by saying that it wants to protect confidential documents from possibly being leaked to the public. The Justice Department sought records for thousands of high school students — 160,000 by one estimate — and when Harvard resisted, citing confidentiality, threatened to sue the university if it did not turn over the records by Friday. Responding to that deadline, Harvard offered a compromise position in which the government’s lawyers would be able to examine all the records, including an electronic database, in the offices of Harvard’s lawyers, with some personal information redacted.”
Harvard’s Conditions Are Reasonable
While we’re not yet sure if the United States Department of Justice will agree to the conditions set forth by Harvard, we believe these conditions to be reasonable and we believe our Department of Justice should deem these conditions reasonable as well. A spokesman for the Department of Justice, Devin M. O’Malley, indicated today that the DOJ was pleased Harvard was taking the demands of the Jeff Sessions-led department seriously. So it seems they might just be open to meeting the reasonable demands of Harvard. Let’s see what happens. With a Department of Justice that seems hell-bent on ending Affirmative Action, it should be interesting to say the least.