October 18, 2020 IN: Education, National
DOJ Singles Out Southeast Asian Students in Attack on Race-Conscious Admissions
For immediate release
October 16, 2020
Elaine Sanchez Wilson
Washington, DC – On Thursday, Oct. 8, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Yale University after Yale refused to end its race-conscious admissions policy. The complaint specifically excludes Cambodian, Hmong, Laotian, and Vietnamese students from the DOJ’s definition of Asian American students in an effort to establish a manipulative narrative proposing that affirmative action disenfranchises Asian students. The complaint simultaneously ignores the myriad of other ways that connected and wealthy students enter Yale. SEARAC condemns the DOJ’s continued efforts to dismantle affirmative action and its continued usage of Asian American students as a tool to dismantle a cornerstone civil rights policy.
Yale alumnus and former SEARAC immigration intern Trinh Q. Truong arrived to Utica, NY—called by the United Nations as “the city that loves refugees”—at the age of 3 as a refugee in 2001. Attending the local, underfunded public school system, Trinh graduated valedictorian of her class and went on to Yale, where, using full, need-based financial aid support, she earned a BA in political science and a certificate in human rights studies through Yale Law School. “As a first-generation, low-income Vietnamese American refugee student who attended Yale University, I brought unique perspectives to classroom and campus discussions,” said Trinh, who is currently pursuing her master’s degree in refugee and forced migration studies at the University of Oxford after spending a year after graduation in Cambodia on a research fellowship. “The DOJ’s exclusion of Southeast Asian students, whose communities experience disparate socioeconomic outcomes, reveals that its lawsuit against Yale is not about achieving racial justice, but rather about reinforcing the “Model Minority” stereotype and existing educational inequalities. The DOJ is not the arbiter of my Asian heritage.”