The United States Department of Justice withdrew an October 2020 lawsuit alleging that Yale University discriminated against Asian American and white applicants.
The decision to drop the lawsuit was announced in a "Notice of Voluntary Dismissal" filed in the federal District Court of Connecticut on Wednesday, Yale Daily News reported. The move signals a shift in the way the Biden administration is approaching civil-rights enforcement compared to the previous administration.
The lawsuit, which was filed by President Donald Trump's Department of Justice in October, alleged that Yale conducted racial balancing in its admissions process, which is similar to establishing quotas based on an applicant’s race, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The Department of Justice also withdrew a notice finding that Yale had violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin in programs receiving federal funding, The Wall Street Journal reported. While the lawsuit and notice letter have been withdrawn, the underlying investigation of Yale’s compliance with federal law remains open.
Trump's Department of Justice backed a similar lawsuit against Harvard University in 2018, alleging that Harvard's admissions process discriminated against Asian American applicants. A 2019 ruling by a federal judge stated that Harvard did not intentionally discriminate against these students.
Lawsuits of this kind put affirmative action policies in jeopardy for other universities as well. Following the Harvard lawsuit in 2018, former Dean of Admissions Eric Furda defended Penn’s use of race-conscious admission policies to create a diverse campus and learning environment.
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