Read a PDF of our statement here.

Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to obtain information about its investigation of Yale University for alleged racial discrimination in its admissions program. In a letter, dated August 13, 2020, the DOJ gave Yale University until today, August 27, to acquiesce to its demand that it refrain from considering race in admissions for the 2020-21 admissions cycle and clear any future use of race in admissions with the DOJ first.

“The DOJ provided no evidence to support its extraordinary finding that Yale’s admissions program is racially discriminatory,” said LDF Assistant Counsel Cara McClellan. “What we are witnessing is yet another effort by this administration to roll back important and necessary programs to provide more equitable educational opportunities. The Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed that colleges and universities may pursue the educational benefits of diversity through a holistic admissions process that considers race as one of many factors. DOJ has the responsibility to wield its power and authority to remedy ongoing systemic educational inequities throughout the country, but is instead trying to invalidate programs that foster racial diversity and inclusion.”

LDF is vehemently opposed to racial discrimination and believes that any credible allegation of racial discrimination should be thoroughly investigated and, if proven, immediately remedied. The DOJ has a responsibility to enforce the law and protect the civil rights of all Americans. Issuing findings of discrimination against Yale without providing specific evidence to support the findings is a calculated and irresponsible bid to end holistic admissions – a program instituted to ensure equal opportunity for all

LDF is a leading voice in the decades-long struggle for equitable college admissions policies, from its early efforts to desegregate colleges and universities throughout the Jim Crow South to its ongoing advocacy for the continued use of race-conscious admissions policies in higher education, including its representation of 26 Harvard student and alumni organizations in SFFA v. Harvard, a lawsuit challenging Harvard’s race-conscious admission program. DOJ has supported the plaintiff’s efforts to eliminate race-conscious admissions in the Harvard case.

Read the FOIA request letter here.


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.

Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.