Supreme Court Case On UT Admission Standards Draws Response From Texas Lawmakers

The U.S. Supreme Court questioned the University of Texas' use of race in college admissions. A white Texas woman denied admission to UT is challenging the university's program. The case could lead to new limits on affirmative action.

The High Court justices heard from both sides of the landmark case that challenges racial preferences in college admissions.

Lawyers for the University of Texas and Sugar Land resident Abigail Fisher, who was denied admission in 2008, clashed over the program that uses race as one among many factors in admitting about a quarter of the University's incoming freshmen.

Houston state lawmakers were keeping up with the proceedings as well. This is State Representative Carol Alvarado.

"Race is only one of many factors that is used in regards to admittance for the University of Texas. What it ensures is that there's a level playing field for people to be able to compete to go in. There's no guarantee that you're gonna get in, but I think it definitely provides an opportunity."

State Representative Garnet Coleman says race might be a factor in determining admission.

"But not the only factor used in admitting a student into any university, or law school, or medical school in the country, according to the Michigan case, and that was the Supreme Court's ruling prior to the filing of this case. So the young lady who did not get into UT, who has filed this case, is saying that the Supreme Court's earlier ruling was wrong."

UT president Bill Powers says they look at a wide range of considerations in determining who gains admission.
 
"We wouldn't want a university without any science majors. We wouldn't want a university without any low income students, or any first generation students, and we would want a university that could provide the educational environment for our students as sufficiently diverse. And so that's why it's an important factor among other important factors."

Powers says the issue of diversity within ethnic groups is important to the university.

"Our admissions policies pay a great deal of attention to first generation students, low income students. Our financial aid packages encourage low income students, that is a very high priority. But we want a diversity across ethnic groups as well."

High Court hears oral arguments in a challenge to UT’s admissions policy, and likely for other school around the country, may hang in  the High Court ruling. That decision isn't expected any time soon.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...