For at least the past two decades, DOJ argues, Yale has consistently ensured that its freshman class is between roughly 6 and 8 percent black, an illegal “racial balancing.” Salovey claimed that over the same period the racial composition of admitted applicants “fluctuated significantly for all groups” but did not address the concerns about black students specifically.

Data on the 2017 and 2018 applicant pools, released by Yale to DOJ, show bigger signs of discrimination. In those classes, about 6.4 percent of white and Asian applicants were admitted, compared with 8.3 percent of Hispanic and 9.5 percent of black applicants. But those numbers mask gaping disparities that become apparent when comparing applicants’ academic achievement, as measured by an “academic index” in use across the Ivy League.

By that measure, the admissions chances of students of similar academic achievement vary wildly based on race. Black applicants above the second decile of academic skill are consistently five to eight times more likely to be admitted compared with their Asian counterparts; Hispanic applicants are two to four times more likely to be admitted.