Supreme Court returns Fisher case to Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals



This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the case of Fisher v. The University of Texas at Austin, in which the plaintiff challenged any consideration of race in the admissions process. The University’s policy considers race as one among many factors in a holistic review of applicants who are not admitted automatically by the state’s Top 10 Percent Law.

Today, the Court vacated and remanded the Fisher case back to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, finding that the lower court had not applied a strict enough standard when it found in favor of the University. It is important to note that the Court did not prohibit the use of race in admissions, as the current law permits. Today’s ruling has no impact on admissions decisions we have already made or any immediate impact on our holistic admissions policy.

For many years, The University of Texas at Austin has been a leading advocate for diversity in higher education. As we argued before the Court, we believe a diverse student body is critical to the education of all students. It creates a rich learning environment that prepares young people for life in an increasingly global society. Because we remain convinced of this truth, and because diversity is critical to our becoming America’s best public university, we will continue to defend our policy.

Thank you for all the ways you support our core purpose of transforming lives for the benefit of society.

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  1. This is a long ongoing discussion about reverse discrimination. I can understand both sides, because on one side if a minority is on paper “less worthy” than a majority, why should they get the advantage simply because they are a minority? In the same vein, equality has to start somewhere and if that’s the only way to help boost up the educational and economical levels of minorities, then so be it.

    Hypocritical? Yes, I can understand that too. This is one of those “no easy decisions”, and at the end of the day, I support diversity too. Thanks for that!

  2. Brad OBrien says:

    Most black folks I know and work with are remarkably similar to me. I’m a white guy from Dallas. Since black folk here in the Estados Unidos eat the same food in the same restaurants, cheer on the same sports teams, listen to the same radio stattions. I go to a multi ethnic multi generational church. If the goal is true diversity using race as a criteria in the 21st century to approximate diversity seems to be no longer adequate.
    If we wish to compensate black Americans for past injustices we should offer them discounted tuition at all state universities yet require the same admission scores on SAT ACT etc.

  3. One problem is the top 10 percent is NOT automatically admitted any longer, it is now top 8 percent, which was changed to allow MORE minority to attend UT even if they were not in top 10 percent. Admissions should be based on the same criteria regardless of race!

  4. Linda Stearns says:

    President. Powers,

    As a parent of a young, white, female student who just was admitted as a freshman to UT Austin this fall, we sympathize with Ms. Fisher and her parents. But even more so, we applaud the university for its dedication to diversity. Although we would disappointed if our daughter, had not been admitted to the University of Texas, we would have taken comfort in the fact that the university has taken a stand toward achieving equality for all.

    With deep appreciation from some proud Texas parents,
    Linda and Hugh Stearns

  5. Paul E. Meacham says:

    President Powers,

    Thank you for continuing to defend the University’s current policy that is under attack from those who would like nothing more than to take us back to the “Separate but (UN)Equal Days of doing business in the educational institutions of this country.

    Paul E. Meacham, Ph.D., 1972.
    The University of Texas at Austin
    “Hook Em Horns”

  6. Rene Salinas says:

    Thank you for the update! I have full faith in President Powers and appreciate his leadership through all this adversity.

    Rene Salinas
    BFA 06
    Life Member #62763

  7. Keep up the good work, President Bill.

  8. Barbara says:

    A diverse student body is wonderful and educational, and can be achieved by the top 10% rule. What you’re teaching all students through applying affirmative action to enrollment figures is the opposite of what we, as parents, have taught them: to be colorblind. We spend years teaching them that the color of someone’s skin doesn’t matter, to look beyond that. And we try to teach them that if they work hard, they’ll be rewarded.
    By condoning and utilizing affirmative action, you erase years of progress. Instead of erasing prejudice, you ignite it.