Press Release

Plaintiff in Harvard University Admissions Lawsuit Objects to Destruction of Student Records at Yale Law School

(Washington, DC) Today, Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) sent a letter to Peter Salovey, president of Yale University objecting to reports of the destruction of student records at Yale University law school.

A similar letter was sent to the presidents of the other Ivy League universities except Harvard. The letters to Yale, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Princeton, Penn, and Dartmouth can be found here.

SFFA filed two lawsuits in November 2014 challenging the admissions policies at Harvard University and the Univ. of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

The lawsuit against Harvard asserts that the university has an unconstitutional racial quota that limits the number of Asians it will admit, as well as a racial balancing policy that the U.S. Supreme Court has forbidden in earlier litigation.

According to an article in The New Republic (March 15, 2015), “Yale Law School Is Deleting Its Admissions Records, and There’s Nothing Students Can Do About It” authored by Joseph Pomianowski, Yale Law School Dean Robert Post informed students in his annual “State of the School” address that students who requested access to their admissions and educational records under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) would no longer be receiving them. It is unclear from the article if Yale will pursue the destruction of undergraduate records.

The Pomianowski article stated that, “To avoid being forced to hand over a wide range of documents in response to a flood of recent student requests, the school had decided to destroy its student admissions evaluation records along with any notations made by the career development office in individual student files.”

SFFA objects to the willful destruction of admissions files by Yale Law School because it raises serious concerns under the Family Education Rights Privacy Act—a 1974 statute which allows students to access and correct inaccuracies in their own records.

Moreover, the destruction of these files may risk spoliation of evidence in SFFA’s Harvard litigation. In its complaint against Harvard, SFFA alleged that Harvard’s data is highly consistent with all other Ivy League schools, which inexplicably enroll Asian Americans in remarkably similar numbers year after year after year. As proof, the complaint set forth seven years of enrollment data from the Ivy League schools—including Yale University. Thus, Yale has been on notice that undergraduate student admissions files may be subject to subpoena as this important civil rights case proceeds to the discovery phase.

Edward Blum, president of SFFA said, “SFFA’s letter hereby notifies Yale and the other Ivy League schools of the legal duty to preserve all admissions files in their possession or control. To the extent that Yale has already destroyed such documents and is able to retrieve them, it must do so promptly.”

 

Read more about the Harvard and UNC-Chapel Hill lawsuits here.