He said the defendants are “very antitrust aware and particularly sophisticated.”
“They have good advice provided to them,” he said, comparing the lawsuit to a 1990s Justice Department case filed against Ivy League schools and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That case ended in a favorable ruling for the universities.
The lawsuit charges that the 16 schools still give preference in admission to the children of wealthy donors, make waitlist decisions on the basis of a prospective student’s finances and family wealth, or decide whether to admit applicants for particular programs based on student or family finances.
Five former undergraduates of Vanderbilt, Northwestern and Duke are the first plaintiffs in the case. The firms Roche Freedman, Gilbert Litigators & Counselors, Berger Montague and FeganScott filed the lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois on their behalf late on Sunday.
The defendants in the lawsuit are some of the most elite schools in the country: Brown, the California Institute of Technology, the University of Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern, the University of Pennsylvania, Rice, Vanderbilt, Yale, Notre Dame, and Georgetown.
The two Catholic universities on the list of defendants are the Congregation of Holy Cross-run Notre Dame and the Jesuit-run Georgetown University. They and seven other defendant institutions led the alleged conspiracy by ignoring need-blind admission policies. Instead, they took into account the financial circumstances of prospective students and their families “through policies and practices that favored the wealthy.”
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