AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) President and CEO David J. Skorton, MD, and Chief Legal Officer Frank Trinity, JD, issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) challenging the admissions process of Yale University:
“We are disappointed in the Department of Justice’s announcement yesterday challenging Yale University’s admissions process. The investigation appears to have been hastily concluded and based on a mistaken premise that academic metrics should drive admissions decisions to the exclusion of other factors. We note that the Department’s position on this issue did not sway the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, which recently upheld Harvard’s admissions process against a similar challenge.
The AAMC has long supported individualized holistic review, a strategic, mission-driven, multifactorial, evidence-based process rather than a mechanical weighing of grades and standardized test scores. Medical educators, in selecting future physicians, consider a wide range of pre-professional competencies, including service orientation, interpersonal communication skills, cultural competence, leadership, resilience, adaptability, and teamwork. Although admissions processes vary with the educational mission and goals of each school, medical school admissions committees conduct interviews of every accepted medical student. Principles of holistic review also apply to undergraduate education, where a diverse student body adds compelling value to both formal and informal learning and the campus culture writ large.
The AAMC will continue to support medical schools as they consider each applicant individually based on a range of academic and non-academic factors.
We also note the irony of the Department of Justice invoking U.S. abolitionist leader, orator, and statesman Frederick Douglass in its press release. We doubt that Mr. Douglass would support the Department’s misapplication of Supreme Court precedent, especially in the educational context. Mr. Douglas said ‘Some know the value of education by having it. I know its value by not having it.’ Under the DOJ’s conception of admissions, fewer students of color would have access to educational opportunities and that would be unfortunate for the school and for the country.”