Supreme Court Dubs Race In Admissions Decisions As ConstitutionalBy Vinay Patel, UniversityHerald Reporter
In what could be considered as another notable win for the adoption of affirmative action in higher education, the United States Supreme Court has upheld a University of Texas policy that considers race as one of the factors for admission.
Affirmative action in college admissions has pulled through yet another Supreme Court test.
The Court ruled 4-3 on Thursday, June 23, giving the go-ahead to University of Texas Austin's admissions process, dubbing it as constitutional and deciding Fisher v. Texas for the second time in a span of just three years. The decision that directly impacted millions of Americans was this time, in the favor of the university.
Writing for a four-justice majority that comprised of Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justice Anthony Kennedy adjudged that the university's inspection of the students' race was indeed constitutional, Vox reported.
However, if the decision would have gone against the University of Texas, this could have actually interfered with universities' consideration of race at the time of admission of students.
According to Vinay Harpalani, who serves as a professor at Savannah Law School with focus on race in higher education, the ruling is not definite and will probably require schools to take numerous actions to be able to actually consider race in admissions. Keeping Data Texas on its campus diversity played a crucial role in urging the court to support its policy, Harpalani noted.
The court delved into details of everything UT Austin did; including surveys and campus studies. Harpalani lays emphasis on its importance noting that universities have now gained a sense of how to support their plan.
Besides, in a majority opinion authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court noted that the school will need to keep on studying this data in order to ensure its plan is essential for a diverse campus.
Kennedy noted that giving a stamp of approval to the University's admissions policy does not compulsorily imply that the University may depend on that same policy without any rectifications.
It is the duty of the University to continuously reflect on its admission policies, he added.
Contradicting the Court's decision, Justice Samuel Alito pointed out that UT failed to convince that the institute's policy of giving admission to all students in the top-10 percent of their high school graduating class did result in creating diversity, especially considering the state's high schools are already divided into racial or ethnic groups, Patch reported.
Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin: The case revolves around a white, female student whose admission was turned down by University of Texas, which considers race as one of the key criteria in admitting some of the students.
The said student, Abigail Fisher was reportedly discriminated against citing her race (as she was white). Texas, on the other hand defended its policy dubbing it as crucial in developing a racially diverse campus.
That being said, it cannot be denied that the school's admission policy is indeed a little unusual.
According to Texas law, at the time Fisher applied, those students who are in the top 10 percent of their high school's graduating class were granted admission to the school automatically.
However, that number has now dropped to mere 7 percent for Fall 2017 applicants.