Federal appeals court backs UT-Austin race-based admissions policies
- The University of Texas at Austin's race-based admissions practices were upheld Tuesday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
- The court found that UT-Austin's policies met the tests established last year by a U.S. Supreme Court case that allowed affirmative action under narrow conditions, much to the chagrin of critics of race-based admissions.
- This isn't over yet: Lawyers for the plaintiff are already committing to another appeal, threatening to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Playing a big role in this case is Texas' "Top Ten Percent Plan," which the challengers of UT-Austin's admission practices say is sufficient enough to guarantee diversity. Under that plan, the top 10% of graduates from every Texas high school are guaranteed a spot at every public college in the state, and since a large number of high schools in the Lone Star State are segregated, the system automatically results in the admission of black and Latino students.
The appeals court, however, said that dependence on "a mechanical admissions process is the most pernicious of discriminatory acts," saying its solely racial focus treated minority students as commodities and operates against a "backdrop of increasing resegregation." According to the ruling, over half of Latino students and 40% of black students in Texas are enrolled in schools with 90% or more minority enrollment.
- Inside Higher Ed Win for Affirmative Action
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