Dear Members of the Yale Community,
In August, I wrote to let you know about the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) allegation that Yale’s undergraduate admissions practices discriminate against Asian American and white applicants. Over the last few weeks, Yale has provided DOJ with information showing that this allegation is based on inaccurate statistics and unfounded conclusions, such as DOJ’s claim that the proportion of various racial groups admitted to Yale has remained stable for many years. In fact, in the last two decades, the percentage of admitted applicants fluctuated significantly for all groups. Despite our efforts to correct these misconceptions and the fact that Yale’s undergraduate admissions practices are perfectly consistent with decades of Supreme Court precedent, tonight DOJ filed a lawsuit against our university.
I want to be clear: Yale does not discriminate against applicants of any race or ethnicity. Our admissions practices are completely fair and lawful. Yale’s admissions policies will not change as a result of the filing of this baseless lawsuit. We look forward to defending these policies in court.
In thinking about this issue, it is important to bear in mind the quality of Yale’s admissions pool. Even if we thought that relying on GPA and test scores alone was in Yale’s best interest, we could not take that course because we have too many applicants with excellent academic qualifications. More important, Yale would not be well served by looking only at GPA and test scores, which do not provide a complete picture of each applicant.
Our admissions process considers as many aspects as possible of an applicant’s life experiences and accomplishments. That does include race and ethnicity, but only as one element in a multi-stage examination of the entire application file, which takes into account test scores, grades, teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities, military service, and many other factors. No single element is considered independently of the whole application. We take this approach because we know that exposure to a diverse student body improves students’ critical thinking, problem-solving, and leadership skills and prepares them to thrive in a complex, dynamic world.
As our country grapples with urgent questions about race and social justice, I have never been more certain that Yale’s approach to undergraduate admissions helps us to fulfill our mission to improve the world today and for future generations. We remain unwavering in our commitment to identifying applicants whose individual experiences and abilities will combine to create an extraordinary educational community.
Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology