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Justice Department may sue Harvard for affirmative-action documents

By Danielle Haynes
Justice Department may sue Harvard for affirmative-action documents
The Department of Justice said it may sue Harvard University if it doesn't provide documents on its affirmative-action policies by December 1. File Photo by Marcio Jose Bastos Silva/Shutterstock

Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The Department of Justice threatened to sue Harvard University if it doesn't comply with an investigation into the Massachusetts school's affirmative-action policies.

The Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division sent a letter to Harvard dated Nov. 17 notifying the school it is being investigated under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The act prohibits schools and other organizations that receive federal funding from discrimination based on race or national origin.

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The letter accused Harvard of failing to meet a Nov. 2 deadline to submit documents about the school's affirmative-action policies. The Justice Department said Harvard sent a "belated response" on Nov. 7, challenging the department's authority to investigate and giving "restricted access to limited documents."

"We sincerely hope that Harvard will quickly correct its non-compliance and return to its collaborative approach," the letter said, giving Harvard a new deadline of Dec. 1.

"Please be advised that if Harvard does not comply with the document request in full by that deadline, we may file a lawsuit to enforce Harvard's Title VI access obligations."

The investigation is in response to a civil lawsuit brought by non-profit group Students for Fair Admissions, which accuses Harvard of trying to limit the number of Asian students admitted to the school.

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