The Department of Justice has opened an investigation into Harvard University’s admission practices. Particularly, it involves the university’s affirmative action policies.
A nonprofit organization called Students for Fair Admissions filed the civil lawsuit back in 2014. In the complaint, Harvard University might have actively discriminated against Asian-American applicants.
The affirmative action policies might violate civil law. As such, the nonprofit asked a federal judge to stop Harvard from using race as a factor in their application process. The lawsuit is still pending.
On November 17, the DOJ wrote a letter to Harvard’s lawyers to let them know of the investigation. It falls under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act bans use of race, color and national origin for organizations that receive federal funding.
On an interesting note, the letter also says that Harvard failed to comply with initial requests for documents. The documents related to the university admission policies and practices. The request was due on November 2.
If documents are still not in by December 1, the DOJ could file a lawsuit to get the documents. This information came in a letter from John M. Gore. He is an acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division.
Harvard responded in a statement:
As we have repeatedly made clear to the Department of Justice, the University will certainly comply with its obligations under Title VI.
Allegedly, Harvard was coordinating a way to oblige the DOJ while protecting the applicants’ privacy.
Since 1989, Asian-Americans have voiced their concerns over the Ivy League admissions process. Conservative legal activist Edward Blum is leading the latest complaint. Last year, he spearheaded an affirmative action complaint at the University of Texas involving a white male.
The U.S. Supreme Court has dealt with cases of affirmative action for over 40 years. According to some, it becomes a convoluted form of racism. Historically, the courts have ruled in favor of racial preferences when it comes to public university admissions.
Devin O’Malley, a DOJ spokesman said:
The Department of Justice takes seriously any potential violation of an individual’s civil and constitutional rights.