The University of Texas has filed a brief with the US Supreme Court defending its use of race as a factor in admissions, reports Sacramento Bee.
Abigail Noel Fisher, a white student from Sugar Land near Houston, has claimed that she would have been admitted to UT as an undergraduate in 2008 if she hadn't been Caucasian. The Supreme Court agreed in February to consider the case, setting the stage for its first ruling on affirmative action in higher education since 2003.
In its brief, university argues that its admissions process is a constitutional 'holistic review' that promotes diversity.
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Though Fisher initially lost her case in US District Court in Austin and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court agreed to hear her appeal, which is based on the 14th Amendment stating that no state shall 'deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.'
In addition to race and ethnicity, the brief states that UT's definition of a diverse prospective student includes 'an applicant's culture; language; family; educational, geographic and socioeconomic background; work, volunteer or internship experiences; leadership experiences; special artistic or other talents.'
The State of Texas admits its students as per the Top 10 Per cent Law which means automatic admission to the state's public universities for Texas high school students in the top 10 percent of their graduating class. But UT wrote in the press release, the law 'does not ensure the educational benefits of a diverse student body' and that the holistic review fosters greater diversity.
The case is being watched closely for a broad ruling that could impact admissions policy at public and private universities nationwide.
Since filing her case, Fisher, 22, has studied finance at Louisiana State University and graduated earlier this year with a bachelor's degree.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Fisher vs. University of Texas at Austin on Oct. 10