Court Upholds University of Texas Affirmative Action Policy

Court Upholds University of Texas Affirmative Action Policy

nuclear option
Image: File
(Image: File)

On Tuesday, a three-judge federal appeals court upheld the decision for the University of Texas at Austin to use affirmative action in its college admissions process.

The 2-1 ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by Abigail Fisher, a young white Texas woman who sued the university after being denied admission in 2008. At the University of Texas at Austin a “10 percent” admissions rule is used, where students graduating in the top 10% of their high school class can gain admission, while the other students go through a general evaluation process that does include race as a factor. However, Fisher feels that this “10 percent” policy serves as a disadvantage to students who attended high-performing high schools and did not graduate in the top of their class, and feels that a race-blind review process would achieve significant diversity.

“It is settled that instruments of state may pursue facially neutral policies calculated to promote equality of opportunity among students to whom the public schools of Texas assign quite different starting places in the annual race for seats in its flagship university,” writes Judge Patrick Higginbotham of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the fifth Circuit. “It is equally settled that universities may use race as part of a holistic admissions program where it cannot otherwise achieve diversity.”

This Texas ruling comes just months after the April Supreme Court decision that ruled states can ban affirmative action policies without being in violation of the Constitution.

It’s good to know that some universities, like the University of Texas at Austin, recognize the value in diversity and the need to ensure that its student body represents a diverse range of scholars.