Feds threaten to sue Harvard over Asian-American admissions

Feds threaten to sue Harvard over Asian-American admissions

The Justice Department is probing whether Harvard University improperly uses race as a factor when it admits students - and is threatening to sue the Ivy League school if it refuses to cooperate, according to documents obtained by the Herald. The lawsuit claimed that the university intentionally discriminates against Asian American students, thereby violating the federal civil rights law. "The Department of Justice is committed to protecting all Americans from all forms of illegal race-based discrimination", she had said. The letter warned that the DOJ was not satisfied with Harvard's cooperation with the probe and that the university would face a lawsuit it did not turn over relevant documents by December 1, The Wall Street Journal reports. The complaints against Harvard stemmed from a 2014 federal civil lawsuit filed by the Students for Fair Admissions, who alleged that the university was deliberately the number of Asian enrollees.

"The Department of Justice takes seriously any potential violation of an individual's civil and constitutional rights, but we will not comment at this time", Justice Department spokesperson Devin O'Malley told CNN in a statement.

"The Department is left with no choice but to conclude that Harvard is out of compliance with its Title VI access obligations.We sincerely hope that Harvard will quickly correct its noncompliance and return to a collaborative approach", the letter said.

A statement from Harvard on Tuesday said it will "certainly comply with its obligations" but also needs to protect confidential records related to students and applicants. A similar complaint was made to the Justice Department.

The Supreme Court past year upheld race-conscious admissions at the University of Texas but said the ruling didn't necessarily apply to all other schools.

Meanwhile, Edward Blum, the legal strategist behind the 2014 lawsuit against Harvard, has lauded the Justice Department for taking action against the school and said that Harvard has "discriminatory admissions policies".

Feds threaten to sue Harvard over Asian-American admissions
Feds threaten to sue Harvard over Asian-American admissions

Edward Blum, the president of Students for Fair Admissions, gave a written statement on November 21 to media houses, saying that the investigation is a "welcome development" as Harvard's Asian quotas and "the overall racial balancing that follows have been ignored by federal agencies for too long". "This investigation is a welcome development".

"It is exceptionally unusual for the department to resurrect a complaint filed almost two-and-a-half years earlier", the letter written by university attorney Seth Waxman read.

But these more recent letters from the Justice Department, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, mark the first confirmation that the school is now under investigation.

The lawyer, Seth Waxman, demanded that investigators share their case files with Harvard, prove their authority for the inquiry and guarantee confidentiality of Harvard's records.

"For obvious reasons, the Department of Justice generally does not share its civil investigative case files with the targets of its investigations", the department responded.



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