The incident marks the first time Harvard will provide access to records.
Harvard University has agreed to present confidential applicant and student records upon the US Justice Department’s request.
The US Justice Department had opened an investigation regarding systematic discrimination against Asian-American applicants. In its investigation, the department demanded that the university should hand over applicant information.
“We sincerely hope that Harvard will quickly correct its noncompliance and return to a collaborative approach,” a department letter said, adding that “Harvard has not yet produced a single document.”
The department threatened to sue the university if it did not hand over the requested documents.
The New York Times has now reported that the university has obliged to the department’s request. It marks the first time that Harvard has provided access to the records. However, the university added a condition that government lawyers only looked at the records in the offices of Harvard’s lawyers.
This reportedly could make it hard to carry out statistical analysis the government had wished to do.
“Harvard has offered the Department of Justice access to the requested documents in a manner that seeks to prevent public disclosure of confidential and highly sensitive student and applicant information entrusted to our protection,” said Melodie Jackson, a spokeswoman for Harvard.
A spokesman for the Justice Department, Devin M. O’Malley said, “The Department of Justice takes seriously any potential violation of an individual’s civil and constitutional rights. We are pleased that Harvard today indicated it too takes this matter seriously and has presented a potential path forward. The Department is reviewing the university’s response and declines comment at this time.”