The newest Asian-American GOP lawmakers in Congress have condemned the Justice Department’s decision to drop its case against Yale University alleging discriminatory practices against Asian-American and White undergraduate applicants.
The case, filed in October under the Trump administration, was part of a larger initiative to challenge universities practicing affirmative action policies in their admittance procedures.
But the lawsuit, which alleged that Asian-Americans and White students were discriminated against with “oversized” standards during the admission process, was dropped just two weeks after President Biden entered the White House, first reported the Wall Street Journal.
“President Biden says he wants to bring unity, equality, and allow for diverse perspectives in the national conversation,” Repubican Rep. Young Kim, a Korean-American from California, told Fox News Thursday. “However, between dropping a lawsuit seeking to protect Asian Americans against discrimination in higher education and failing to appoint any Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders to his cabinet, the Biden administration appears uncommitted.”
“Everyone deserves to be judged on their merits and not discriminated against because of their heritage, race, or background,” she added.
A Justice Department spokesperson told Fox News that the decision was made “in light of all available facts, circumstances and legal developments,” including the November decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, to drop a challenge made against Harvard University, alleging they relied on race-based decisions in their admission process.
The department also removed a notice letter that found Yale admission practices violated Title VI – a finding that was submitted following a two-year investigation that concluded the Ivy League college had been practicing discriminatory admissions methods.
The 2018 investigation was launched following a 2016 complaint, filed by the Asian American Coalition for Education against Yale, Brown, and Dartmouth.
Freshmen congresswoman and newest member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, Republican Rep. Michelle Steel, the South Korean-born American R-Calif., said she would use her committee role to “level the playing field for all students.”
“All students should have equal opportunity to succeed on their own merit and shutting the door to applicants based on race is wrong,” Steel, also of Korean ancestry and from California, told Fox News Thursday. “We should be encouraging all students to succeed.”
Yale, which condemned the lawsuit as “inaccurate” and “unfounded” last year, applauded the decision to drop it, telling Fox News they were “gratified.”
A Yale spokesperson said their admission process “looks at the whole applicant: where applicants come from, what they have accomplished, and what they hope to achieve at Yale and after graduation. In this way, we create an incoming class that is richly diverse.”
But Swan Lee, a Chinese-American writer and cofounder of the Asian-American Coalition for Education which lead the charges against the university, called the DOJ outcome “a racist decision because it preserves discrimination in education. It’s a setback in our fight against racial discrimination against Asian Americans in education.”
Lucas Manfredi contributed to this report.