Here We Go Again. . .Does Yale Really Have an Admissions Problem, Too?
Updated: Mar 11
We recently posted our third blog in a three-part series about challenges to Harvard University’s Admissions Process by a group of Asian-Americans. In the series, we described why Affirmative Action compliant admissions processes are so complex, as compared to the 1970’s when the dominant goal was the hiring or admission of African Americans.
PART 1: THE YALE ADMISSIONS PROBLEM
We now see similar challenges to Yale University’s Admissions Process. The allegations though are not specific to Asian Americans (1). Instead, the charge is that Asian Americans and Whites are the victims. We have come full circle since the early days of Affirmative Action, and subsequently, the Bakke Decision which established the legitimacy of reverse discrimination.
Now the allegation is that Whites have been discriminated against as a group. But “Whites” are not a legally protected class. What’s more, Diversity textbooks (Understanding and Managing Diversity, Carol P. Harvey and M. June Allard, 4th Edition, Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 2009) point out that Asian Americans are perceived as “white” by Caucasians.
Therefore, a position could be held that sixty percent of admissions to Yale are “whites.” Neither group (Whites or Asian Americans) is protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Therefore, the allegation against Yale’s Admissions Policy suggests that some other group is benefiting disproportionately. Remember, Asian Americans are admitted at the rate of 20% and Whites at 40%. However, Blacks are admitted at an 8% rate, Hispanics at a 14% rate, and people in the category of “Multi-Racial” are admitted at a 7% rate. Yet, 10% - 14% of the U.S. is Black, and 24% - 28% is Hispanic. Only 5% - 8% is Asian American.
Yale (and most likely Harvard) would argue that admitting students from foreign countries (10% at Yale) is consistent with their goal of creating a more diverse community, a right afforded to them by the Supreme Court in related cases.
If this is true, then where will the “deficit” be made up? Not only is there no “excess” of Admissions in any other group, but it could be argued that Black admissions are too low. But this is not the group that is alleging discrimination.
Also, admission percentages are great, but how many people are applying? Sometimes these numbers are disappointing to colleges and universities. You cannot admit or hire people who don’t apply. This was a prime concept in the creation of Affirmative Action, i.e. that an organization must “affirmatively” (i.e. proactively) seek people from protected classes for hire or admission.
All of which underscores the difficulty of managing a non-discriminatory College Admissions Program. In the 1970’s it was expected that, if any Protected Class would complain about its admissions or hiring rate, it would be Blacks. This group was the primary and intended beneficiary of advances in Anti-Discrimination Law, most notably Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
But it is no longer the 1970’s. It is 2021, and it is clear that the world of Affirmative Action is murky at best.
PART TWO: THE YALE CASE… AND THE VERDICT IS IN!
In our last blog (“Here We Go Again… Does Yale Really Have a Problem?” at www.westminsterassociates.net/blogs), we wrote about the Yale Discrimination Case, in which the historic Ivy League University was formally accused of having discriminated against Caucasians and Asian Americans in its Admissions Process. By its very nature, the Plaintiffs would have to demonstrate that people who are not protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were discriminated against. This is known as “Reverse Discrimination.” It is difficult to persuade the Courts of this argument. We took the position that Yale would win this case.
We were right.
On February 3rd, 2021, National Public Radio reported that the Justice Department dismissed the lawsuit “in light of all available facts, circumstances and legal developments.” However, the DOJ spokesperson said that an underlying investigation to ensure Title VII compliance is ongoing. This reflects the prior Administration’s desire to challenge the ability of higher educational institutions to consider race in admissions. In contrast, President Biden has promised to make racial equity a priority in his administration. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that colleges receiving federal assistance may consider applicants’ race in limited circumstances, as one of multiple factors. This is usually exercised by a University to build a rich cultural experience for all students and to advance the pursuit of integrated communities.
The case was brought by the group known as “Students for Fair Admissions,” led by conservative strategist Edward Blum, who was disappointed by the recent decision. He added that the group intends to file a new lawsuit against Yale “in the coming days.”
We welcome your comments about this issue.
(Note: This article was compiled using a report by National Public Radio about the status of this Case. Please see our earlier blog about this Case in which the Admissions counts were posted and analyzed. Your comments are welcomed.)
(1) It is unclear to us how Harvard and Yale categorize people who are “Asian.” For example, Asian students from Asian countries are typically grouped as “International” or “global” applicants.
Note: It is our intention to update this Case as it unfolds.
David J. Wudyka, MBA
Wrentham, MA 02093