Justice Department Drops Yale Discrimination Suit
We’ve come a long way in fighting racial discrimination. The United States has made a lot of progress on eliminating the injustice although a lot of work needs to be done to fully quell racism and racial discrimination in schools.
The Yale University’s integrity was recently brought into question when the Justice Department sued it for discriminating against White and Asian applicants. According to the department, the Ivy League university had for decades violated the federal civil rights law by favoring certain applicants based on their race.
To Yale’s relief, however, that lawsuit has been dropped, making it the latest move by Biden’s government to reverse the administration’s position in several pending court cases. As you may already know, the new administration also asked the Supreme Court to put the cases regarding the US-Mexico border wall and asylum policy on hold.
A Two-Year Investigation
The Justice Department claimed that it had carried out a two-year investigation before filing the lawsuit in October when it realized that the school was turning down "scores of Asian American and white applicants each year based on their race." The Justice Department was convinced that the Asians and whites were up to one-eighth as likely to get admitted as their African American counterparts with similar academic records. The department said that the university in Connecticut declined stop its demand to propose sound changes to its admissions process or stop using race as a factor altogether.
The U.S. District Court gave notice of the government’s decision to dismiss the action through a two-sentence filing. After confirming the decision, the Ivy League university expressed its satisfaction with the administration’s willingness to drop the damning lawsuit. It added that the administration’s former opposition to its policies impeded an effective exchange of information that the university looks forward to recommencing.
The Issue Is Nothing New
A conservative activist named Edward Blum founded a popular group known as “Students for Fair Admissions” that filed for a lawsuit that alleged that the undergraduate-admissions process in Harvard University violated the civil-rights laws prohibiting race discrimination.
Blum’s claim that using race as a factor in school admissions is unlawful was dismissed by the Supreme Court. The other counts alleged that Harvard University was involved in “racial balancing,” thereby deviating from the court’s requirements. Racial balancing involves seeking a particular racial composition of a class instead of using race as “supporting” factor in assessing an applicant, and by relying on race in admissions even when there are other race-neutral options.
In response, Harvard asserted that it reviews each individual based on many factors, and race is one of them; it denied the claim that it was involved in racial balancing.
Almost one year after the trial, the court issued a judgement that favored the university. Judge Burroughs said that Harvard’s admission process survived “strict scrutiny.” This means that the court found that the school’s use of race was a necessary factor, as it helped further the school’s interest in establishing diversity, which necessitated enrolling the underrepresented minorities, such as Latino and African-American students.
Perhaps following the steps of attorney Edward Blum, an anti-affirmative action group sued Yale, citing discrimination against the Asian American students. However, the courts ruled in favor of Yale.
The Courts Allow Colleges and Universities To Consider Race
The Supreme Court ruled that colleges and university may use race as a factor in their admissions decisions. However, it also asserted that the process must be conducted in a narrowly tailored manner uphold and promote diversity.
The court decision has been lauded by some civil rights associations, including one headed by the new administration’s incoming assistant attorney general for civil rights.
Americans Don’t Support the Decision
A recent Pew Research Center study discovered that as high as 73% of Americans don’t support universities using race as a factor when making admissions decisions. 7% of Americans believe that race should be highly considered, and 19% believe it should be taken as a minor factor.
It’s true that schools like Harvard and Yale reject the majority of their applicants. However, you may wonder what the few who succeed look like. Should the universities focus on academic credentials alone or incorporate a diverse racial mix? It’s evident the admissions policy of top universities is grappling with a legal challenge. Although it seems like a debate that won’t end anytime soon, the whole thing is really simple: Affirmative action makes sense, and it can work as long the schools don’t abuse it - to promote racial bias.
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