Logan Howard, Senior Photographer
On Wednesday afternoon, the United States Department of Justice dropped its lawsuit against Yale, which was originally filed in October by then-President Donald Trump’s DOJ and alleged that Yale discriminated against white and Asian American applicants in its admissions process.
The decision was announced in a two-line “Notice of Voluntary Dismissal,” which was filed Wednesday morning in the federal District Court of Connecticut.
The high-profile lawsuit came after a two-year DOJ investigation into Yale’s admissions practices concluded that Yale violated Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits any institution or activity receiving federal funding from discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin. In addition to dropping the lawsuit, the new Biden DOJ also withdrew the notice of violation of Title VI and the notice of noncompliance that were released following the conclusion of the DOJ investigation in August.
“Yale is gratified that the U.S. Justice Department has dropped its lawsuit challenging Yale College’s admissions practices,” University spokesperson Karen Peart wrote to the News on Wednesday. “Our admissions process has allowed Yale College to assemble an unparalleled student body, which is distinguished by its academic excellence and diversity. Yale has steadfastly maintained that its process complies fully with Supreme Court precedent, and we are confident that the Justice Department will agree.”
The DOJ’s dismissal of the lawsuit was “without prejudice,” meaning that no final determination was made regarding whether Yale discriminates in its admissions process. A DOJ spokesperson told the News that the department will continue to review the matter “through its administrative process.”
The DOJ spokesperson told the News that the department will also continue its ongoing investigation into Yale’s Title VI compliance, but has withdrawn its notice of noncompliance as the investigation continues.
“The Department has dismissed its lawsuit in light of all available facts, circumstances, and legal developments, including the November 2020 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit rejecting a challenge to Harvard University’s consideration of race in its admissions practices,” the spokesperson wrote in a Wednesday email to the News.
Peart told the News that the DOJ’s August notice of violation of Title VI was unexpected, and that Yale is pleased that it has been withdrawn. Peart said that the notice of violation cut off an exchange of information between Yale and the DOJ, and Yale “looks forward to resuming” that exchange.
Yale has been vocal about its opposition to the DOJ’s conclusions regarding Title VI compliance and released a statement to the Yale community in October calling the DOJ’s claims “baseless.”
“I want to be clear: Yale does not discriminate against applicants of any race or ethnicity. Our admissions practices are completely fair and lawful,” University President Peter Salovey wrote in a community-wide email following the filing of the lawsuit. “We remain unwavering in our commitment to identifying applicants whose individual experiences and abilities will combine to create an extraordinary educational community.”
President Joe Biden has nominated federal Judge Merrick Garland to lead the DOJ as the new Attorney General.
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