Justice Department confirms Harvard affirmative action probe

Nikita Vladimirov
Investigative Reporter

  • The Justice Department has formally launched an investigation into whether Harvard University uses discriminatory policies when admitting new students.
  • American Oversight, a watchdog group, had requested public records relating to the DOJ's affirmative action investigations, but was told that releasing the information could "interfere with enforcement proceedings."
  • The Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C.

    The Justice Department has formally launched an investigation into whether Harvard University uses discriminatory policies when admitting new students.

    According to The Washington Examiner, the investigation was confirmed in a recent letter to American Oversight, a nonprofit watchdog organization, in response to the group's Freedom of Information Act request.

    "Asian-American applicants...have increasingly experienced discrimination in the admissions process."   

    [RELATED: Texas A&M shows that affirmative action isn’t necessary]

    In its letter to the watchdog group, the Justice Department explained that the government would not be able to release documents related to the ongoing investigation since they contain “information compiled for law enforcement purposes,” the release of which “could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings.”

    The official confirmation of the probe comes in the wake of a New York Times report in August that outlined the Trump administration's intent to launch a probe into the allegedly racist school admissions policy.

    At the time, the newspaper claimed to have an internal document announcing the Department’s intent to hire lawyers to conduct “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”

    Following the initial reports that the document alluded to “policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants,” the Trump administration maintained that the probe would be launched on behalf of Asian-Americans who penned a formal complaint against the policy in 2015.

    [RELATED: DOJ: Affirmative action challenge focused on Asians, not whites]

    “This Complaint is filed on behalf of the constituents of the undersigned Asian-American Associations and Organizations including Asian Americans who, because of their race, have been unfairly rejected by Harvard College because of such unlawful use of race in the admissions process, and/or who seek the opportunity to apply for admission without being discriminated against because of their race,” the 50-page document read. 

    “Over the last two decades, Asian-American applicants to Harvard University and other Ivy League colleges have increasingly experienced discrimination in the admissions process,” the complaint continued.

    “Many Asian-American students who have almost perfect SAT scores, top 1% GPAs, plus significant awards or leadership positions in  various extracurricular activities have been rejected by Harvard University and other Ivy League Colleges while similarly situated applicants of other races have been admitted,” it added.

    [RELATED: Harvard med students demand diversity, but no more Asians please]

    American Oversight Executive Director Austin Evers, however, slammed the Trump administration for continuing “to invoke civil rights only to further their own political agenda” in a statement to the Examiner.

    “It speaks volumes that Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department is prioritizing attacking affirmative action at a time when white nationalists are marching openly in the streets,” Evers added.

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    Nikita Vladimirov

    Nikita Vladimirov

    Investigative Reporter
    Nikita Vladimirov is an Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. Prior to joining Campus Reform, he wrote for The Hill, where he extensively covered the latest political developments in U.S. and around the world. Vladimirov's work has appeared on the front pages of The Drudge Report and The Hill, and has been featured by several media organizations including Fox News, MSN, Real Clear Politics and others. He has also appeared as a political commentator on numerous programs, including BBC radio.
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