More than 130 Asian-American organisations in the United States have brought a complaint against Yale University and two other Ivy League institutions, accusing them of racial discrimination in their application process. Brown University and Dartmouth College have also been included in the complaint to the US Departments of Justice and Education.
The complaint was filed by the Asian-American Coalition for Education (AACE) on 23 May and alleges that the three universities engage in a "covert and insidious scheme to enforce race-based quotas in college admissions", which they say violates the US Constitution. Two Indian-American groups – the American Society of Engineers of National Capital Chapter and the Global Organisation of Los Angeles Chapter – are among the coalition of organisations seeking an investigation into the matter.
The complaint issued to the Department of Justice and Education stated: "Multiple studies show that racial biases, often coupled with a lack of understanding of Asian cultures, plague the college admissions process and have led to 'just-for-Asians' admissions standards that impose unfair and illegal burdens on Asian-American college applicants."
Apart from highlighting Brown and Dartmouth as having the "lowest admissions rates for Asian-American students", the complaint also accuses Yale University of "destroying admissions records at its law school". Furthermore, it states that all three universities treat Asian-origin applicants as "a monolithic block, rather than as individuals".
The 37-page complaint outlines a number of stereotypes that they believe Asian-American applicants are subject to at the universities in question. Among these, the document states that factors negatively affecting their chances of admission included the stereotyping of Asian-Americans as "lacking creativity and critical thinking", as well as spending too much time studying and not enough time in extracurricular activities.
Authors of the report stated: "With no factual support and ignoring the diverse background of Asian-American applicants, admissions officers base admissions decisions on stereotypes and racial biases, with apparent immunity. These racial stereotypes that are applied to Asian-American applicants are patently false and are contradicted by the achievements of Asian-Americans in many diverse fields."
However, Yale University and Brown University have both dismissed the claims. The latter said the complaint had "no merit" and insisted that their admission practices do not discriminate against racial or ethnic groups. Meanwhile, Yale University stressed their admissions committee conducts a "personalised and holistic" application process.
A spokesperson for Yale University told IBTimes UK: "All relevant factors are considered in the context of the application as a whole, and the decision on any applicant does not turn on any one factor alone. In conducting a holistic review, applicants are not disadvantaged in the admissions process on the basis of race or national origin."
A spokesperson for Brown University told IBTimes UK: "Each year, we confront the challenge of admitting an entering class from among tens of thousands of excellent applicants. We consider each application individually based on many factors. We make admissions decisions on a case-by-case basis to build a well-rounded class that is both academically talented and diverse."
IBTimes UK approached Dartmouth College for comments but had received no replies at the time of publication.