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A group of four Republican representatives have called for University President Peter Salovey to testify on Yale’s admissions practices before a House of Representatives subcommittee. They say Yale discriminates against Asian Americans in its admissions process.

The Congressional Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties will hold a hearing on March 18 regarding violence and discrimination against Asian Americans. The four politicians penned a letter asking the committee’s chairman to call on Salovey to testify at the hearing. They hope to examine whether the University discriminates against Asian Americans in the application process, the letter states. It is up to Chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., to invite Salovey. 

Salovey has not been formally invited to testify, University Vice President for Communications Nate Nickerson told the News.

“Yale’s admissions practices help us realize our mission to improve the world today and for future generations,” Salovey wrote in an announcement on the topic last fall. “At this unique moment in our history, when so much attention properly is being paid to issues of race, Yale will not waver in its commitment to educating a student body whose diversity is a mark of its excellence.”

The four signatories of the letter were Mike Johnson, R-La., ranking member of the Subcommittee on Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties; Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, ranking member of the Committee on the Judiciary; Michelle Steel, R-Calif.; and Young Kim, R-Calif. The letter was addressed to Nadler and Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.

The letter asked Nadler to invite Salovey to testify so that the subcommittee could “thoroughly examine Yale’s admission processes and its discriminatory effects on Asian Americans.”

The request comes amid a series of legal actions over the last few months challenging whether Yale’s admissions process has discriminated against Asian Americans.

Last August, the Department of Justice alleged that Yale discriminated against Asian American and white applications in its admissions process, claiming that the University violated Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which bars any institution receiving federal funding from discriminating on the basis of race, color or national origin.

The Supreme Court has previously held that colleges that receive federal funding can consider applicants’ race in limited circumstances. But the DOJ stated that “Yale’s use of race is anything but limited,” and that Yale considers an applicant’s race at multiple points in the admissions process.

In October, the DOJ formally filed a suit against Yale. It alleged that Yale’s admissions practices violated Title VI by favoring some applicants based on their race, instead of using race-neutral alternatives to achieve diversity goals. In early February, the Biden DOJ dropped the case against Yale, but the DOJ resumed the compliance review that it had previously set aside to pursue the suit.

On Feb. 25, Students for Fair Admissions — which brought an admissions lawsuit against Harvard University in 2014 — filed a suit alleging Yale discriminates against white and Asian American applicants. This suit also claims that Yale violates Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

“SFFA’s lawsuit is another attempt to dismantle policies and practices that promote racial equity and provide equal educational opportunity,” Cara McClellan, assistant counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, wrote in an email to the News. “As was the case when the DOJ filed its now-dropped suit, there is simply no evidence to support the allegations against Yale.”

McClellan added that the suit attempts to “reverse the progress” made over decades “at a moment in our nation’s history when Americans are demanding racial justice across institutions.”

The University has repeatedly stated that its admissions processes are in accordance with federal law and “decades of Supreme Court decisions.” Salovey has maintained that Yale will not change its admissions practices.

The Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is made up of eight Democrats and six Republicans.

Rose Horowitch | rose.horowitch@yale.edu