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DDCE @ UT Newsletter

August 2012

Message from Dr. Vincent

Dr. Gregory VincentAs the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement prepares for a new academic year and our sixth year as a division, we are anticipating much upcoming discussion about the admissions case to be heard by the Supreme Court, Fisher v. University of Texas. Testimony begins before the Court on October 10. August 13 was the last day for amicus briefs to be filed and there have been many filed, including one on behalf of the family of Heman Marion Sweatt, the first African American to attend The University of Texas School of Law. All of the briefs may be viewed online on The University of Texas at Austin web site.

In a press release from the Sweatt family's lawyers, Heman Sweatt's daughter, Dr. Hemella Sweatt-Duplechan is quoted: "My cousins and I are pleased to support The University of Texas in its efforts today to create a truly diverse student body by considering applicants' race in the context of all their qualities and life experiences. This is the kind of holistic review that my father deserved, but did not get, when he applied to UT Law School." Other members of the family represented by the brief include Heman Sweatt's nephews, Dr. James Leonard Sweatt III and Heman Marion Sweatt II. Those of you who have attended the Sweatt Symposium the past two years may have met members of the Sweatt family and know they remain dedicated to higher education and excellence in life's goals. It is an honor that they have filed a brief in support of the university.

In this issue of DDCE@UT, we update you on the Fisher v. University of Texas case. We are proud to include an article about the work of one of our community partners--the Anti-Defamation League--and highlight a few of the ways we are leading for change in this division through programs such as UT Elementary School, UT Outreach and the Gateway Scholars Program.



University Files Brief in Fisher v. University of Texas

University Files Brief in Fisher v. University of Texas
Watch President Powers' Video

On Monday, Aug. 6, The University of Texas at Austin filed its brief to the United States Supreme Court as a respondent in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin. Abigail Noel Fisher, the plaintiff in the case, claims that she was denied admission to the university in 2008 because she is white.

The brief discusses the university’s admissions process in relation to the Supreme Court’s 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger and the 1978 decision in Regents of University of California v. Bakke.

Those decisions prohibit racial quotas but acknowledge the importance of diversity and allowed universities to consider race among multiple factors while admitting students.

UT’s admissions system was upheld by both the United States District Court of the Western District of Texas and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. According to the 5th Circuit, “It would be difficult for UT to construct a policy that more closely resembles the policy approved by the Supreme Court in Grutter.”
Read more.

ADL Summer Educators Institute Helps Foster
Inclusive Climate on School Campuses

Summer Educators Institute

The Anti-Defamation League held its third Summer Educators Institute to discuss issues of race, gender and social inequity that exist in our city and our classrooms.

Funded by the Tocker Foundation and co-sponsored by the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, the institute gives educators a chance to learn new cutting-edge research and curriculum while creating a safe space to grapple with their own biases. Teachers also heard from student panels about issues students face related to bullying and hate speech. For more information about the institute, visit the Jewish Outlook website. Read More

UT Elementary Hosts South Texas Educators

UT Elementary Hosts Educators

As a demonstration school, the University of Texas Elementary School shares best practices far and wide. On Aug. 9 a group of administrators from the three school districts in the Rio Grande Valley along with visitors from the University of Texas School of Public Health came to learn about UT Elementary’s Healthy Families Initiative and tour the new school building.

The educators and public health professionals are part of a new initiative called Transforming Texas in Cameron County. Read More

San Antonio Summer Enrichment Academies Prepare Students for the PSAT, SAT and ACT

San Antonio Enrichment Academies Prepare Students

Written by Shante Johnson
Over 60 high school students participated in Summer Enrichment Academy (SEA), a college preparatory program sponsored by UT Outreach – San Antonio from July 17 through 20. The event took place at Café College, one of the city’s most well-known locations for kids to seek out information on college.

The 9th and 10th graders participated in a two-day program which included workshops on social media, community service, public speaking, PSAT and ACT preparation, career exploration and resume building.

The 11th and 12th graders participated in two days of workshops which featured tips on writing essays for college admission, finding and securing scholarships, understanding the different types of financial aid, building a strong résumé, and preparing for the SAT/ACT.

At the conclusion of each of the two-day programs, students received t-shirts and certificates of completion for their participation. Read More

Gateway Scholar Michael Williams: Mentoring to Help Others Achieve

Gateway Scholar Michael Williams: Mentoring to Help Others Achieve

University of Texas at Austin senior and Gateway Scholars mentor Michael Williams has traveled a long way from Corsicana, Texas, where he grew up—both figuratively and geographically. With guidance from the Gateway Scholars program staff, he overcame a fluctuating grade point average and indecision over his major—problems which dogged Williams his first two years at the university. He also began speaking at conferences and getting involved with a variety of groups including Student Government, Afrikan American Affairs and the Study Abroad Office, which led this first-generation college student to Maymesters in England and Ghana.

Now beginning his third year as a Gateway mentor, Williams tries to help students learn that they can achieve much more than they think possible. But he also approaches the mentoring process as a friend to the new students. Speaking from experience he explained that freshmen often put themselves in situations they later regret. His message to first-year students is, “You don’t come here to stop applying yourself; you continue to reach higher.”
Read More


Multicultural Engagement Center Student Welcome Events
Steps for Success
Tuesday, August 28
Bloq Party
Wednesday, August 29
Sabado Gigante

Thursday, August 30
You Bring Out the Asian American in Me
Thursday, August 30
More information

Gloria Steinem
AT&T Center
September 5, 4:15 P.M.
Information and registration at gloriasteinem.tcfv.org

Building Bridges Between
Asia & Austin
Four Seasons Hotel
September 22, 2012
2:30-5 P.M. Roundtable
5-6:30 P.M. VIP Reception
6:30-11:30 p.m. AARC Gala
More information

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Editor: Leslie Blair, Web: Jason Molin