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Judges Approve Diversity Efforts in Two High Profile School Lawsuits

In a dual win for advocates of diversity in education, judges in Virginia and Connecticut have issued rulings supporting admissions standards that bolster diverse enrollment for both high school and college-aged students.

In the first case, Pete Williams from NBC News has reported that the Justice Department has granted “voluntary dismissal” of a discrimination lawsuit brought against Yale University by the Trump administration.

According to Williams, “The lawsuit, which was filed in October [2020], said a two-year investigation had determined that the Ivy League university illegally discriminated against Asian American and white students in admissions. It said they were only one-tenth to one-fourth as likely to be admitted as African American applicants with comparable academic records.”

When the lawsuit was announced, Yale called it “hasty and meritless,” saying that the Justice Department hadn’t allowed the school to provide all the material the agency had requested.

“Had the department fully received and fairly weighed this information, it would have concluded that Yale’s practices absolutely comply with decades of Supreme Court precedent,” a university spokeswoman said at the time.

In a similar announcement supporting diversity efforts in schools, The Associated Press has reported that Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax, VA (which was rated the number one high school in America by U.S. News and World Report) can continue working to overhaul its admissions process to increase the diversity of its student body.

“The school board hopes the changes will increase diversity at the school, which has long failed to attract Black and Hispanic students,” AP reported. “Standardized tests that have long been part of the admissions process have been scrapped in favor of a more holistic review.”

While a judge has refused to issue an injunction immediately stopping changes from being made to the school’s admissions policies, a lawsuit brought by a conservative group resisting the change may still move ahead in the future.

In November 2020, a federal appeals court panel also ruled in favor of diversity efforts at Harvard University, saying that “limited consideration of race in its admissions practice was a legitimate attempt to achieve diversity in the student body and did not violate the Constitution,” according to another report from NBC’s Pete Williams.

“While Harvard’s admissions process may not be perfect, it was not the result of racial bias or conscious prejudice,” he said.

 

Related: For more recent diversity and inclusion news, click here.

 

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