The DOJ Says Yale Discriminated by Race in Undergrad Admissions. Here’s What You Need to Know.

The DOJ Says Yale Discriminated by Race in Undergrad Admissions. Here’s What You Need to Know.

The Justice Department says white and Asian-American applicants were rejected based on race but Yale’s president called the allegation baseless


The Justice Department said Yale University had discriminated against Asian-American and white undergraduate applicants, concluding a nearly two-year investigation into the school’s admissions practices.

1. The DOJ wants Yale to stop using race as an admissions factor.

After reviewing hundreds of admissions decisions, the department said in a letter to Yale that Asian-American and white students have one-tenth to one-fourth the likelihood of being admitted as African-American applicants with comparable academic credentials, and that the university must agree to end its use of race as an admissions factor within two weeks or face a lawsuit.

2. The Trump administration is attempting to challenge the consideration in selective colleges’ admissions decisions.

The Justice Department’s move marks an escalation of these efforts. Four decades of Supreme Court precedents support universities’ consideration of an applicant’s race, in a limited fashion, when putting together their undergraduate classes. Schools say diverse campuses have educational benefits, like better preparing students for the global workforce.

3. Yale says it won’t change its processes.

The school says it relies on a holistic review of applicants, including academics, leadership experience, backgrounds and more. Yale president Peter Salovey called the Justice Department’s allegation baseless, adding that “the DOJ concluded its investigation before reviewing and receiving all the information it has requested.” He said the school won’t change its processes “because the DOJ is seeking to impose a standard that is inconsistent with existing law.”

4. Nearly half of Yale’s class of 2023 identifies as white.

Just under 26% of the class identified as Asian-American, and 49.3% identified as white. Another 11.8% identified as African-American, 15% as Hispanic, 3% as Native American and 9.5% as international, according to the university. Because students self-reported and some identified as multiple ethnicities, the percentages don’t add up to 100%.

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Yale Discriminated by Race in Undergraduate Admissions, Justice Department Says