Court rules for UT Austin in Fisher case

Commencement 2013 Saturday evening

This afternoon, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit announced its decision in the case of Fisher vs. the University of Texas at Austin, which had been remanded to the Fifth Circuit by the Supreme Court last summer. In a 2-1 decision, the Fifth Circuit found in favor of UT Austin. I am very gratified that the Court’s ruling recognizes the constitutionality of the University’s admission policy under the Supreme Court’s recent guidance.

In its decision, the majority wrote, “It is equally settled that universities may use race as part of a holistic admissions program where it cannot otherwise achieve diversity.” The court continued, “This interest is compelled by the reality that university education is more the shaping of lives than the filling of heads with facts — the classic assertion of the humanities.”

We remain committed to assembling a student body at The University of Texas at Austin that brings with it the educational benefits of diversity while respecting the rights of all students. This ruling ensures that our campus, our state, and the entire nation will benefit from the exchange of ideas and thoughts that happens when students who are diverse in all regards come together in the classroom, at campus events, and in all aspects of campus life.

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  1. Christine says:

    As a current student I am proud of UT for standing up to people who still believe in a segregated Texas. To those alleged alumni who’ve commented above: we don’t want money from racist donors.

  2. Harv Largesse says:

    Interesting that UT is lauding its narrowly focused “diversity” plan. The focus is on a couple of active groups, true diversity is not remotely being pursued. The majority of graduating seniors has been Hispanic since 2010 yet they still wear the label “minority”. UT claims to abide by a “holistic” approach in considering a student for enrollment, every child in the state should be considered in a true holistic and FAIR manner that respects true diversity and equality. If this does not happen, UT as an institution becomes a farce.

  3. James Schneider says:

    Congratulations to UT on winning this battle. It is very sad to read the negative comments by alleged former UT supporters. Surely, it is unfortunate when a member of a majority race is denied admission to admit a member of a minority race, but, in the opinion of people who are experts in education, this provides a better environment for educating everyone who is admitted to UT. I think the people who are criticizing UT’s position are missing the point, entirely.

  4. Trang Le says:

    This is a victory for UT and for Texas. Diversity truly enriches education experience and contributes to a healthy society. Diversity is not only critical, it’s the only way to be alive. Thank you and I will miss you Dr. Bill Powers.

  5. I am glad the university recognizes the need for diversity. Policies like this benefit everyone some will never understand. Minorities are not taking the place of qualified “white” students. If you read the policy online you’ll see that ethnicity is only one factor of many that is considered. #yournotuntitled

  6. A private university ought to be able to admit whomever it wants, on any criteria it wants. But a state school must abide by sound ethical principles in the way it operates. One of those principles is that a government must not discriminate on the basis of race. But my beloved UT does, and then defends the practice of racial discrimination as though it’s a matter of principle. It’s not. It’s just politics. As Ambrose Bierce said, politics is a strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles.

  7. This was the right decision, and I am proud to be a UT Alum.

  8. UT 2018 says:

    This makes me almost regret coming to UT as a freshman this fall. I don’t like associating myself with a university that promotes this unfair policy. Merit should always be lauded. This is supposed to be one of the greatest public research institutions in the nation. Promoting hard work will “change the world”, not promoting diversity of skin color. What ever happened to not judging based on color of skin but based on the quality of character (as said by MLK Jr.)? UT should follow a race neutral admissions policy to promote merit and equality.

  9. Fischer was simply not qualified for our great university and started a straw-man lawsuit. You guys think UT wants minority students that don’t make the grade? How then does UT remain in the top 30 universities in the world?

  10. Kinaya Ulbrich says:

    Oh, quit belly-aching! Everyone is SO ashamed! Who needs your donations anyway?! Take your name off the list and put your degrees in the closet. Good riddance! I’ve never heard such selfish, entitled whining in all my life! White kids get breaks ALL the time! Athletes get breaks, rich people get breaks, on and on and on. STOP blaming others and get on with it!

  11. Rae Arnaud says:

    Great to hear this. Some of the most important life experiences I have learned from at UT came with interacting with people who had a completely different background from mine. In practice, minorities will remain an extremely small percentage of the UT population, so we should all wonder where people’s fear are coming from.

    As a graduate with a high 6-figure job, I will make sure to keep donating. Both to the Computer Science department, and to UT as a whole.

    To every UT staff member that I interacted with, thank you so much for all you do, you have changed my life for the better.

  12. Disappointed in U T about this. I used to love my school, but not right now. Don’t bother asking me for donations now. I can’t support a school that doesn’t value hard work and achievement over checking boxes. So much for fairness.

    • M- So unfortunate that you think this has to do with discrediting hard work and achievement. It’s a little more complicated than that.

    • Who worked harder and had more achievements than who? The plaintiff in this case was not debating her relative achievements but the idea that certain background factors can play a role in the admissions process. There is no evidence that the plaintiff would have clearly been admitted even if those ‘check boxes’ were not a factor. Admissions is a complicated process and surely is not perfect but at least point your argument in the appropriate direction.

    • Hello M!

      As much as I would like to agree with your assessment, I cannot. Consider this, the State of Texas, I believe, is the ONLY state that gives automatic admissions to any of it’s public universities to ANY student who reaches the top ten percent (10%) of their class, regardless of ethnicity. Look at the statistics for UT enrollments for 2012 (2013 isn’t available yet):

      American Indian or Alaskan Native: 0.3%
      Asian: 17.7%
      Black or African American: 4.4%
      Hispanic/Latino: 20.9%
      Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander: 0.1%
      White: 49.1%
      Two or more races: 2.5%
      Race/ethnicity unknown: 0.4%
      Non-resident alien: 4.8%

      Yes, person works hard to get into the school of their dreams. If you achieved top 10%, apply to any public school in Texas, you’ll get in. However I see the use of ethnicity as another for the university to keep diverse. By the way, I’m considered to be a white person with hispanic descent. You don’t get accepted at UT, then apply at another school – there are plenty more in the state who will admit you. Remember, it is their loss, not yours.

  13. Virgil Moore says:

    Dr. Bill Powers – You rock! Wish we could have you around for ten more years!
    Virgil Moore, Texas Exes Life Member

  14. Randolph Curson says:

    I am ashamed to have two degrees from UT. There should be equality in admissions, period. Why should other than whites be given preferential treatment? There is an anti white bias here here, led by the administration. Good riddance to them all. Quit calling me for donations.

  15. Jim Mitchell says:

    I am ashamed to be a graduate of a University thay uses race as an admissions policy, excluding more qualified students.

  16. Texas ExPat UT83 says:

    UT will see not one dime of mine while it continues to discriminate based on race.

    Texas ExPat
    BBA ’83, JD ’88

  17. Great lets reward minorities for being minorities. And we wonder why our country is going down the drain.

    • I am a minority graduate and I can tell you that I was never once “rewarded” for being a minority. It concerns me that future generations have to continue dealing with people who “think” the way you do…so sad.