Before 52 American citizens and diplomats were taken prisoner in the Iran hostage crisis, a treasure trove of papers containing sensitive information were shredded by the Americans at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. After all, these documents contained information important to America’s national security and these American patriots didn’t want the information in the hands of the hostage-takers. When we read about the probe recently opened by the U.S. Department of Justice against Yale University for alleged discrimination against Asian Americans in admissions, we thought back to those moments before the 52 Americans were taken hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran — and how so many of them, resigned to their fate, bravely spent time shredding documents sacred to our nation’s security. In March of 2015, you see, Yale deleted all evaluative comments made by admissions officers on the files of students who ultimately attended Yale. And while they didn’t do so in the noble interest of national security like those brave Americans in Tehran, the school’s actions may very well have protected itself against a lawsuit — like the one Harvard is currently facing.
Yale Deleted Its Evaluative Comments on Applications
As reports Skakel McCooey for “The Yale Daily News” in a piece entitled “Admissions policy may help Yale fight complaint,” “Before the 2015 change, the Admissions Office retained all evaluative data on applications, including notes left by admissions officers and interview reports from alumni. Such evaluative data has played a big role in a separate, ongoing lawsuit against Harvard, which also alleged that the university discriminated against Asian-American applicants. Unlike Yale, Harvard retains all admissions officers’ notes on file. In recent months, as court documents, including some admissions files, came to light, Harvard has received significant backlash for some of the admissions officers’ feedback on applications, including assigning each applicant a personality rating. Students for Fair Admissions, the group suing Harvard, claimed that Asian-American applicants have consistently scored lower on personality ratings than applicants of other races with similar credentials.”
So it seems the Department of Justice (and any group that subsequently chooses to file suit against Yale) won’t have the treasure trove of evaluative comments on Yale application files as they do at Harvard, information that proved quite damning to Harvard’s defense that the school doesn’t discriminate against Asian American applicants. We imagine Yale’s admissions office is breathing a collective sigh of relief over their wise decision to delete these very records back in March of 2015. Wouldn’t you say?