Saturday, February 06, 2016
Current Weather
Loading Current Weather....
Published: Monday, 11/12/2012


Affirmative action on trial

A landmark case be­fore the U.S. Supreme Court could de­ter­mine whether col­leges and uni­ver­sities can con­sider an ap­pli­cant’s race for ad­mis­sion. The de­ci­sion, ex­pected next spring, will help de­cide whether this mul­ti­cul­tural na­tion moves for­ward or back­ward on mat­ters of race.

A 22-year-old woman named Ab­i­gail Fisher be­lieves the Univer­sity of Texas de­nied her ap­pli­ca­tion for ad­mis­sion in 2008 be­cause she is white. Her at­tor­neys claim she had a bet­ter ac­a­demic record than some cho­sen mi­nor­ity stu­dents. Ms. Fisher ended up ob­tain­ing a de­gree from Lou­i­si­ana State Univer­sity.

A di­verse cam­pus im­proves the over­all ed­u­ca­tion of ev­ery­one. Col­leges and uni­ver­sities need to main­tain some flex­i­bil­ity in get­ting there.

Ap­pli­cants al­ways have been judged by nu­mer­ous con­sid­er­ations be­sides grades and test scores, in­clud­ing ath­letic prow­ess, ar­tis­tic skills, vol­un­teer ac­tiv­ity, re­la­tions to alumni, es­say-writ­ing, civic duty, and lead­er­ship.

More­over, any just and rea­son­able ad­mis­sions pro­cess must ac­count for dif­fer­ences. Some ap­pli­cants had to work to sup­port their fam­i­lies. Others didn’t. Some grew up in homes where they used com­put­ers and took trips. Others may have been home­less.

In the Grut­ter vs. Univer­sity of Mich­i­gan de­ci­sion of 2003, the Supreme Court out­lawed ra­cial quo­tas as a tool for ad­mis­sion but al­lowed race to re­main one of many le­git­i­mate con­sid­er­ations. Justices who wrote the 2003 ma­jor­ity opin­ion, nar­rowly passed by a 5-4 vote, said they thought the cur­rent sys­tem would last 25 years. Now, with a more con­ser­va­tive court, the abil­ity of uni­ver­sities to con­sider race is in jeop­ardy, along with Af­fir­ma­tive Ac­tion.

In a na­tion still scarred by ra­cial in­justice, that would amount to a gi­ant step back­ward.

Recommended for You

Guidelines: Please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. If a comment violates these standards or our privacy statement or visitor's agreement, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report abuse. To post comments, you must be a Facebook member. To find out more, please visit the FAQ.