Princeton Graduate Sues Grad School for Discrimination

January 29, 2019
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
Princeton Graduate Sues Grad School for Discrimination

A Princeton University student who had applied to medical school and was rejected is now suing the school after being advised to take a DNA test to discover Native American or African American lineage in hopes of significantly increasing her chances of admission. The student is charging racial discrimination and a federal judge ruled that her case would proceed, despite requests to dismiss it.

A 2017 graduate of Princeton University and neuroscience major, Nicole Katchur wanted to attend Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University/Philadelphia University and was thrilled to learn that an admissions officer from the medical school was visiting Princeton. Katchur was the only student to sign up to meet the representative, especially given the competitiveness at the medical school. In her one-on-one meeting with the college representative, Katchur was allegedly questioned multiple times about her race; when she answered that she was white, the admissions office asked "if plaintiff was sure" and then suggested that plaintiff "obtain an expensive genetic test to see if she could qualify as Native American or American Indian to garner better chances of being accepted to Jefferson." The officer also allegedly told Katchur that "she advised a past Caucasian applicant to obtain a genetic test, that the applicant learned that he was partially African American, and that he was accepted into Jefferson on account of his race."

Following the incident, Katchur filed a complaint with the medical school about the discussion and was subsequently rejected and sued the school, "charging multiple forms of discrimination." The medical school requested that the suit be dismissed and Judge Michael M. Baylson dismissed some charges, but allowed the racial discrimination claim to go forward. The college argued that Katchur did not offer “any direct evidence that the discussion of her race came up at all, let alone in a discriminatory way, during the review of her application." Judge Baylson ruled that telling Katchur she "would be granted admission to Jefferson if she were African American amounts to overt or explicit evidence which directly reflects discriminatory bias by a decision maker." Furthermore, the issue of racial discrimination is "serious enough to warrant legal attention even given the traditional deference of courts to colleges and universities on academic matters.

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7 Comment(s)

Devin H.  on  2/20/2019 9:12:28 PM

If we truly believe in equality, then race or sex should be no factor in determining your eligibility. This is nothing more but plain priviledge for minorities because they are a minority.

sam sarno  on  2/10/2019 4:26:06 PM

This should come as an embarrassment to any independent minded Aft Ame or Nat Ame or hispanic and I am part Hispanic. To believe that we should get in based on our race as part of the admissions is pathetic and racist and offensive to other races as well as mine. And why do white people think they are the savior heros representative of all minorities by putting on a show that whites are privileged and siding with minorities as though they are saving their race..how condescending.

Corbeau L.  on  2/5/2019 9:04:48 AM

Race and sex are both things that should never increase or decrease our chances of getting into a school or landing a job.

Corbeau L.  on  2/5/2019 9:04:30 AM

Race and sex are both things that should never increase or decrease our chances of getting into a school or landing a job.

Ray Will  on  2/4/2019 11:28:52 PM

What a crock! Once again, Minorities are being used as SCAPEGOATS for some privilege brats' temper tantrum.

Herb Wolfe  on  1/31/2019 1:48:39 PM

DNA cannot be used to determine indigenous ancestry.

Herb Wolfe  on  1/31/2019 1:48:37 PM

DNA cannot be used to determine indigenous ancestry.

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