Justice Department Reversal on Yale Lawsuit is A Key Victory for Affirmative Action and Diversity in Higher Education

Statement from Advancing Justice - AAJC, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and NAACP Legal Defense Fund
For Immediate Release
Michelle Boykins (202) 296-2300, ext. 0144 mboykins@advancingjustice-aajc.org

Washington, D.C. - The Department of Justice announced today that it will be dropping its lawsuit against Yale University, which had alleged the university was discriminating against white and certain Asian American applicants in its admissions process. The following are statements from civil rights groups involved in the case:

David Hinojosa, director of the Educational Opportunities Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: “It’s great to see that America again has a Justice Department that is back in the business of fulfilling its mission of advancing equal educational opportunity and promoting racial diversity. America’s communities of color are filled with highly talented individuals, and affirmative action programs help ensure they are not overlooked when applying to selective institutions of higher education. It has been proven in the courts that race-conscious admissions programs are lawful, and Black students and other students of color who come from all walks of life can rest a little easier knowing our government is looking to lift them up, not divide and suppress.”

Niyati Shah, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – AAJC’s director of litigation and co-counsel with Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles: “We believed this lawsuit did not have merit from the very beginning. The Justice Department’s decision today affirmed that this lawsuit was clearly about playing politics for the purpose of dismantling affirmative action, which benefits so many students of color. Statistics prove that Asian Americans overwhelmingly support affirmative action and  understand that race-conscious admissions are necessary for educational equity and diversity in higher education.”

"We applaud DOJ's decision to withdraw its Yale lawsuit, which had propagated false stereotypes of students of color and instigated divisions among - and even within - racial groups," said LDF Senior Deputy Director of Litigation Jin Hee Lee. "The consideration of race in admissions is constitutional and allows colleges to look beyond traditional criteria to identify qualified and talented students who might otherwise be overlooked. As a leading academic institution, it is imperative that Yale continue to foster diversity with its holistic admissions program."