Local Reaction to SCOTUS affirmative action ruling

Newscenter 23

POSTED: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 8:20am

UPDATED: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 - 10:26am

It was a 7-1 decision that settled absolutely nothing.

The high court stopped short of saying that race can never be used as an admissions criterion, but it did make it more difficult for universities to justify using racial preferences. The court says universities will be under strict scrutiny, meaning universities will now have to prove that desired diversity could not be achieved using "race neutral" methods.

The whole debate started after Abigail Fisher, a white woman applied to the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 and was denied. She claimed that her constitutional rights and federal civil rights laws were violated.
Ultimately the Supreme Court says Monday it will be up to a lower court to reexamine the case.

"If the 5th circuit court of appeals modifies its decision to some extent it will probably mean that UT-Austin and other public and private schools with have to severely limit their use of affirmative action policy that would facilitate the opportunity for whites to get admission."said UTB history Professor Anthony Knopp.

At the University of Texas Pan-American director of admissions Debbie Gilchrist says race plays no role in UTPA's admission process.

"Our admission policy looks at a student’s rank in class, how they scored on a test, as well as if they took college course work while in high school, those are the kind of things we look at when making an admissions decision." said Gilchrist.

So while Monday's Supreme Court decision is expected to have minimal impact in the RGV, the national question of just how far universities can go in extending racial preferences is still unresolved.

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