Officials at the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights said they plan to ramp up their efforts to stop discrimination in higher education, and will continue an investigation focusing on the University’s admission policies.
The Princeton investigation focused on claims of bias against Asian-American students in the admission process. Jian Li, a Chinese-American student with perfect SAT scores, was waitlisted and then rejected by Princeton in 2006. He filed a federal civil-rights complaint, arguing that Princeton imposed higher standards for Asians than other groups. In 2008, the investigation was expanded to a broader review of the University’s admission policies for Asian-American students. The Education Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights said the office will be reviewing the Bush administration’s policies on race-conscious admissions policies and handling a larger volume of cases, so four years after it was issued Li’s complaint may finally get a determination.
University spokeswoman Emily Aronson told the Princeton Alumni Weekly that the University believes the review is unfounded, but others have raised concerns about recognition of the minority group in other aspects of campus life. The graduate school’s “hosting weekend” for admitted minority doctoral candidates doesn’t include Asian prospective grad students, and in 2008 alumni, faculty and students petitioned for more Asian-American focused courses and the creation of a certificate program. This year Princeton offered two Asian-American studies courses, including “Chinatown USA,” but alumni are still working on the creation of a department, along the lines of the Center for African American Studies or the Program in Latino Studies.