Doubling Down on Race at the University of Texas

I have previously written about the saga of Abigail Fisher’s challenge to the University of Texas at Austin’s race-conscious “holistic” admissions process, here and here.

In a nutshell, after the Fifth Circuit banned UT from using race as a factor in admission decisions in the 1996 Hopwood case, in 1997 the Texas legislature passed House Bill 588, the so-called Top Ten Percent Law, which grants automatic admission to UT to all students in the top 10 percent of their high school classes. This clever subterfuge allowed UT, which dreaded the demographic consequences of a meritocratic admissions process, to maintain the “desired” level of racial and ethnic diversity without explicitly considering those factors in admissions decisions. It worked so well, in fact, that UT was more diverse following H.B. 588 than it was prior to Hopwood.

Higher education bureaucrats always seek greater diversity, so when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) that the University of Michigan could consider applicants’ race in admissions decisions so the student body would be mixed enough to realize the supposed “educational benefits” of diversity, UT immediately renewed the use of race in a “holistic” component supplementing the Top Ten Percent Rule. This was problematic because, unlike the University of Michigan, UT had already achieved a diverse student body without explicitly considering race. A legal challenge was inevitable.

Read more at National Review

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