Affirmative action policies at the University of Texas are being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The justices agreed to hear the admissions policy challenges for a second time on Monday. The case was initiated by Abigail Fisher, a white student who was denied admission to the Texas college class of 2008.
Abigail Fisher maintains that the school denied her admission in favor of lesser qualified minority applicants. Fisher lost her affirmative action lawsuit during a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals review in New Orleans in 2014. In 2013, the United States Supreme Court heard the University of Texas affirmative action case, but did not rule directly on the constitutionality of the policy and merely ordered the appeals court to “scrutinize” the mandate more closely.
The high court has already considered Fisher’s case once. In June, 2013, the court did not directly rule on the program’s constitutionality but ordered the appeals court to scrutinize it more closely. In the ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy stated that the court system must “verify that it is necessary for a university to use race to achieve the educational benefits of diversity.”
The University of Texas is located in Austin. The college reportedly admits most freshman via a program which guarantees those who were ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class. The university also reportedly uses “other holistic factors,” including race, to determine admission for the remainder of the applicants.
During the second appeal, the court ruled that the University of Texas was justified in the “limited use of race” as a factor in the admissions process because a lack of “workable alternatives” existed in order to achieve the desired amount of diversity.
Even though a form of affirmative action was reportedly used at the Austin university, the percentage of Hispanic and black students on campus still lags behind the number of white students.
While the university’s program has resulted in significant racial and ethnic diversity, the percentages of black and Hispanic students remain lower than in the state’s overall population.
Fisher went on to graduate from Louisiana State University, but opted to continue the case in order to help others students who faced that same admissions issue.
The United States Supreme Court will not hear Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 14-981, until the next term begins in October.
The Fisher lawsuit states that the Texas college denied her admission in one of the 25 percent of remaining slots because they are reserved for “special scholarships” for students who adhere to a “personal achievement” formula, which includes race as a factor.
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