A Justice Department investigation into Harvard University’s approach to affirmative action is officially underway. The DOJ kicked off the probe, left over from the Obama administration, with a pointed letter that lambasted the Ivy League flagship for not handing over the documents that it needs for the investigation, which Harvard is meeting with resistance.
For now, there is no actual legal case against Harvard University. That’s what the Justice Department is looking into — whether complaints that Harvard’s admissions office wasn’t being fair to Asian Americans have enough merit to prompt further action. Old Crimson isn’t having that, however. Not only did Harvard miss the deadline and refuse to provide copies of the documents, they also called the DOJ’s confidentiality procedures into question.
That prompted the DOJ to send Harvard a pretty savage letter that clocks the Ivy League university for refusing to comply with document requests, tells them they are “missing the point” of some pretty basic legal precedents and statutes, and accuses Harvard of attempting “to sidestep Harvard’s Title VI obligations” in a way that “sails wide of the mark.”
Back in August when the DOJ was first looking for volunteers to help run the probe, the DOJ also cast some shade on “the prior administration” for leaving the problem “unresolved.” What remains to be seen is whether there’s any case at all after all this back and forth over the documents the DOJ needs to examine, or if there’s something more to this than a loose end left over from Obama.