Yale University Accused of Discrimination

Yale University, accused by the U.S. DOJ of discriminating against Asian American and white applicants in its holistic admissions process, has fired back at the DOJ’s claims.

Back in October of 2019, an age that seems like eons ago, a federal judge ruled that Harvard University — accused of discriminating against Asian American applicants in its holistic admissions process — has an imperfect admissions system but one that passes constitutional muster. It marked a major victory for Harvard, which found itself defending its admissions practices in a lawsuit brought by a group known as Students for Fair Admissions, though the decision is of course being appealed. As our loyal readers know, the Trump administration, through the U.S. Department of Justice, backed the SFFA group. So Harvard’s victory was indeed a blow to the Trump administration. But it seems the administration is trying to kick back. After a two year investigation, the U.S. DOJ accused Yale University today of discriminating against Asian American and white applicants in its holistic admissions process.

U.S. Department of Justice Says Yale Discriminates Against Asian American and White Applicants

As Anemona Hartocollis reports for The New York Times in a piece entitled “Justice Dept. Accuses Yale of Discrimination in Application Process,” “The charge, coming after a two-year investigation, is the administration’s second confrontation with an Ivy League school; two years ago, it publicly backed Asian-American students who accused Harvard in a lawsuit of systematically discriminating against them. The department’s finding could have far-reaching consequences for the ongoing legal challenges to affirmative action, which are expected to eventually reach the Supreme Court. Some conservative groups have long opposed affirmative action, a tool born in the civil rights era, and a handful of states have banned such policies at public universities…The Justice Department said that Yale had violated Supreme Court rulings on affirmative action by using race not as one of many factors in deciding which applicants to invite to the freshman class, but as a predominant or determining factor in admissions — an effect that was multiplied for competitive applicants.”

We Have Long Asserted That All Colleges Unjustly Discriminate Against Asian American Applicants

Loyal readers of Ivy Coach’s college admissions blog know that we have been very assertive over the years in our belief that highly selective colleges, including each of the Ivy League schools and every elite college across this land, despicably discriminates against Asian American applicants. And we have long called for these schools to cease this discrimination. Back in 2015, we published a piece for The Huffington Post entitled “Asian Americans Deserve Better in Ivy League Admissions.” They still deserve better. It’s just that we know that change in America doesn’t begin in a courtroom. Rather, it begins with the populace. Just as the fight for gay marriage in America didn’t begin with the Obergefell v. Hodges case but instead began years ago at The Stonewall Inn when a diverse and courageous group of LGBTQ citizens lifted their voices, the fight to end Asian American discrimination in college admissions must begin in the streets — not in the courtroom.

But the U.S. DOJ Doesn’t Care About Asian Americans, Only Seeks to End Affirmative Action

It’s no surprise that the U.S. DOJ would accuse Yale of discriminating against Asian American applicants. But, let us be clear, it’s not because our current administration cares so deeply about ending Asian American discrimination in admissions. Rather, Asian Americans are — in our view — being used as a pawn in the quest to end the practice of Affirmative Action, which would deal a major blow to underrepresented minorities, including Black / African American, Latinx, and Native American young people, who so greatly enrich America’s college campuses. So, no, it’s not news that the DOJ thinks Yale discriminates against Asian American applicants. It will only be news if the DOJ finds a court that agrees with them.


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  • Sarah Libby says:

    The interesting thing is that yes colleges are discriminating, but what is the alternative? Does is it seem fair that one racial group should make up 80% of a student body? And all based on high test scores? And are their scores so high because they are naturally smarter or do they prepare more and earlier than other groups? Many people say that Asians have almost gamed the system by priortizing test-taking from a very young age and that this where their intellectual superiority ends compared to other races. True or not? Who knows. Then there has been the constant complaint by adcoms that Asian students applications are pretty much the same making for a very bland student body. I think U Chicago eliminated the test scores because they conpletely nullified any potential lawsuit based on superior test scores since they are saying we are holostic. I think the Asian lawsuit threat will eventually eliminate test scores in all colleges due to the latter points. I agree their is discrimination but this is not an easy solution. I would like to know what you would propose Ivy Coach? Should we just be handing over the keys to the highest test scorers? That would make a university the least diverse place anywhere.

  • Army Perry says:

    Your Trump comment was a biased and cheap shot. First of all, the DOJ is doing what they are supposed to be doing- not choosing one race over another- which is what you are doing and what universities are doing, albeit on opposing sides. The DOJ says the American way is to NOT choose sides and they are right. Both you and the universities are wrong. HOWEVER, the asian lawsuits are basing their discrimination on published CRITERIA. What is the main criteria? Grades amd test scores! Once universities CHANGE the criteria to Grades and extracurriculars I think they have the complainaints in checkmate since asian applicants EC’s have been, up to now, pretty average when measured against URM’s. And the standards for admission go from concrete to gray and from objectivity to complete subjectivity. A court can not know what was in someone’s mind to choose a black candidate over an asian one anymore than you can know if the DOJ cares about asian americans or or not.

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