(Washington, D.C.) - Civil rights groups criticized the latest attack on Yale University’s important race-conscious admissions policy today after Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) filed another lawsuit against the school. SFFA’s filing comes less than three weeks after the U.S. Department of Justice abandoned its case claiming discrimination in the school’s admissions policies. The following are statements from civil rights groups:
Damon Hewitt, acting president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law: “The courts have consistently ruled that race-conscious admissions programs are lawful, and we stand ready to defend those programs and stand with students once again. Earlier this month, the Justice Department rightfully dropped its lawsuit against Yale University, and it is clear that SFFA is trying to pick up the pieces and resurrect that failed lawsuit through this zombie litigation effort. Contrary to SFFA’s false assertions, race-conscious admissions policies advance educational opportunity and promote racial diversity. That is good for all students, good for universities, and good for the nation as a whole. America’s communities of color are filled with highly talented individuals who deserve a meaningful shot at being accepted into our nation’s higher education institutions. It is important that students from communities of color feel supported in their educational aspirations, and that they see the doors of opportunity opened instead of being used as pawns in a game where certain actors are trying to suppress and divide them.”
Cara McClellan, assistant counsel, NAACP Legal Defense Fund: “Today’s lawsuit is another attempt to dismantle policies and practices that promote racial equity and provide equal educational opportunity. As was the case when the DOJ filed its now-dropped suit, there is simply no evidence to support the allegations against Yale. To the contrary, there is a tremendous amount of evidence that holistic admissions processes – ones that enable colleges and universities to see applicants in their full being with all the value they bring to institutions – are fair and constitutional. At a moment in our nation’s history when Americans are demanding racial justice across institutions, today’s suit attempts to reverse the progress made over decades. Four decades of precedent has made clear that it is constitutional to consider race as one many factors in admissions. The accomplishments of generations of hardworking students and alumni of color at Yale make clear that SFFA misunderstands merit and underestimates the ways these students contribute to their academic communities and our country more broadly.”
SFFA has also filed three other lawsuits targeting race-conscious admissions policies against Harvard University, the University of Texas at Austin and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Several courts have already ruled that the alternatives they present to race-conscious admissions are not acceptable.
About the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law – The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice for all, particularly in the areas of voting rights, criminal justice, fair housing and community development, economic justice, educational opportunities, and hate crimes. For more information, please visit https://lawyerscommittee.org.