Education Department Investigating Allegations of Racial Discrimination Against Asian American Applicants to Princeton University

The U.S. Department of Education announced that it is instituting a wide-ranging probe of allegations that Asian Americans are discriminated against in the admissions process at Princeton University.

The probe began when Jian Li, an Asian American student from New Jersey, was rejected for admission into the class of 2010 at Princeton. Li had very high grades and a perfect 2400 on his SATs. A white student who finished lower than Li at the same high school and who had significantly lower SAT scores was admitted.

Li was rejected at two other Ivy League universities and also at Stanford. He enrolled at Yale and later transferred to Harvard.

The U.S. Department of Education initially rejected Li’s complaint. But now it has announced that it decided to open an investigation involving all Asian American applicants to the Princeton Class of 2010. Asian Americans make up 14 percent of the student body at Princeton.

Any ruling that Asian Americans are being discriminated against at the nation’s leading colleges and universities could do serious damage to black enrollments at these institutions. If Asians are awarded more slots at the universities there will be fewer positions for blacks.

The lame duck Bush administration appears to be making a last ditch effort to place further obstacles in the path of affirmative action for African Americans. Senator McCain may benefit if affirmative action becomes an issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.