Probe sought against alleged discrimination against Asian Americans by Ivy League Schools

A Department of Education study showed that Asian-American enrollment at Brown and Yale has been stagnant since 1995, and at Dartmouth since 2004, despite an increase in highly qualified Asian-American students applying to these schools during that time.

In fact, data show that Asian Americans must score, on average, “approximately 140 point[s] higher than a White student, 270 points higher than a Hispanic student and 450 points higher than a Black student on the SAT, in order to have the same chance of admission.” The groups suspect Yale, Brown, Dartmouth, and other Ivy League schools “impose racial quotas and caps to maintain what they believe are ideal racial balances,” harkening back to the days of the Chinese Exclusion Act and the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

While the population of college age Asian-Americans has doubled in 20 years and the number of highly qualified Asian-American students “has increased dramatically,” the percentage accepted at most Ivy League colleges has flat-lined, according to the complaint. It alleges this is because of “racial quotas and caps, maintained by racially differentiated standards for admissions that severely burden Asian-American applicants.”

Now, a coalition of Asian-American organizations have asked the Department of Education to investigate Brown University, Dartmouth College and Yale University, alleging they discriminate against Asian-American students during the admissions process, The Wall Street Journal reported last week.
The schools named in the complaint all said they used a holistic approach and evaluated each applicant individually in an effort to build a diverse class. The complaint, said a spokesman from Brown, is without merit.

The complaint is the latest in a long line against selective colleges on behalf of Asian-American applicants, but the Education Department has never found that schools are deliberately discriminating against members of that group.

The Education Department does not confirm receipt of complaints. Last year the Education Department dismissed a complaint against Harvard University, deferring to the much-anticipated Supreme Court ruling on the race-conscious undergraduate admission policy at the University of Texas at Austin. Oral arguments for that case were heard in December.

The complaint filed Monday by the Asian-American Coalition for Education, which consists of more than 100 organizations, makes many of the same points as the previous complaint against Harvard. It charges that the number of Asian-Americans at the three schools is capped and a special “just-for-Asians admissions standard” is in place. Admissions officers “often treat Asian-American applicants as a monolithic block rather than as individuals, and denigrate these applicants as lacking in creativity/critical thinking and leadership skills/risk taking.”

According to reports, after the Department of Education started investigating Harvard in 1988, its admission rate of Asian-Americans jumped to 16.1% in 1991 from 10.8%. After students filed a complaint against Princeton in 2006, its admission rate increased to 25.4% in 2014 from 14.7% in 2007.

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