The U.S. Department of Justice has upheld the arguments made in a lawsuit against 16 private colleges and universities.
In a briefing filed Thursday, the department declined to comment on the case but said it was “in the interests of the United States.” In particular, the brief is the answer to a proposal by the colleges to dismiss the case.
Colleges accused of violating antitrust laws cite “568 exemptions” in their activities that require colleges to blindly admit all their students. But the Department of Justice states that “an agreement between schools that enroll all students on a need-blind basis and schools that do not provide is exempt from the scope of the 568 waiver. Thus, at least some defendants do not accept. It won’t happen. “
The lawsuits target Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Emery, Georgetown, Northwestern, Rice, Vanderbilt and Yale universities; California Institute of Technology; Dartmouth College; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; And the University of Chicago, Notre Dame and the University of Pennsylvania.
Everyone in these colleges says they need blindness.
But the lawsuit states that “over the years, at least nine defendants have sided with wealthy applicants in the admissions process. These nine defendants have decided to admit students and their families because of their financial situation, which has led to resentment towards students in need of financial assistance.”
The nine are Columbia, Dartmouth, Duke, Georgetown, MIT, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Penn and Vanderbilt. The lawsuit alleges that they “failed to conduct their admissions practice on a need-blind basis because they all decided on admissions considering the financial situation of the applicant and their family, through policies and practices that were in favor of the rich.”
Columbia University has been criticized because its School of General Studies, which is said to have enrolled 2,500 undergraduates, according to the lawsuit, does not require blind admissions. “The burden of preserving Columbia’s prestige and supporting financial savings therefore falls on those who can at least afford it,” the lawsuit says.
The Judiciary summary also cites (and won) a lawsuit filed in 1989 against Ivy League University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The Ivy League universities settled the case and MIT fought it and lost.
Representatives of the colleges in the current suite, some of which were in the previous suite, could not be reached for comment this morning.
Plaintiff’s lawyer Robert D. “We are extremely pleased that the Judiciary has submitted this statement in support of the plaintiffs on the main points of this case,” Gilbert said.