The University of Texas at Austin
  • President Encouraged by the Supreme Court’s Ruling

    Published: June 24, 2013

    Following is a statement from University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers regarding today’s Supreme Court ruling in the case of Fisher versus University of Texas. The ruling relates to the use of ethnicity as one factor in determining college admissions.

    “We’re encouraged by the Supreme Court’s ruling in this case.

     We will continue to defend the University’s admission policy on remand in the lower court under the strict standards that the Court first articulated in the Bakke case, reaffirmed in the Grutter case, and laid out again today. We believe the University’s policy fully satisfies those standards.

    We remain committed to assembling a student body at The University of Texas at Austin that provides the educational benefits of diversity on campus while respecting the rights of all students and acting within the constitutional framework established by the Court.

    Today’s ruling will have no impact on admissions decisions we have already made or any immediate impact on our holistic admissions policies.”


    Media Resources:

    Photos for download
    UT Austin President Bill Powers (photo credit: UT Austin)
    President Powers at Supreme Court (photo credit: Paul Fetters)
    UT Tower (photo credit: Marsha Miller/UT Austin)
    UT Tower – horizontal (photo credit: Marsha Miller/UT Austin)

    Audio and video for download
    UT Austin campus b-roll
    June 24 press conference: audio (.wav file, 191 MB)
    June 24 press conference: audio (.mp3 file, 16 MB)
    June 24 press conference: full video (UT Austin YouTube channel)

    For more information, contact: UT Media Relations, utmedia@utexas.edu, 512-471-3151.


    Related Resources:

    For more information about the court case, visit Legal Affairs: Fisher v. Texas.

    For updates about the University of Texas at Austin admissions process after the Fisher decision, visit Be a Longhorn – Fisher landing page.

    Read the news release about Fisher decision.

    Supreme Court returns Fisher case to Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals (President Bill Powers’ Tower Talk blog)

    Follow UT Austin’s Facebook page, @UTAustin and @UTAustinNews for the latest updates.


    Last updated: June 24, 2013 at 4:38 p.m.

    • Quote 2
      Sheri said on June 28, 2013 at 3:57 p.m.
      @Jaime- So many things can be difficult to explain. Imagine having to explain to a child that they cannot ride at the front of a bus, drink from a certain fountain or live in a certain neighborhood. Imagine telling a bright student that the best they can aspire to is domestic work. Yes...many things are hard to defend and yet that was my life. Now my 3.8 granddaughter (her school did not have grades valued above 4.0)is matriculating at UT. Our family has never asked for a handout, only equal access to opportunity. I am sorry you feel race played a part in your child being declined. I am sorry because I know first hand what it is to be pushed aside and denied, in every aspect of life, strictly because of race, not ability. Maybe I should say to you what my mother and father used to say to me: "Sorry. That's the way life is." Kinda burns doesn't it?
    • Quote 2
      Josh said on June 25, 2013 at 8:05 p.m.
      I recently graduated from UT. I think the question is, "What's fair?" The answer: fair is giving people what they need. Our society is in a transition phase. Unfortunately, ethnicity (culture) is tied to SES and cultural capital. Cultural capital is incredibly important. More important, I believe, than economic security. Asian culture highly values education; that’s why we see many Asians rejected in favor of people of other ethnicities, whose cultures, historically, have not valued education. What we really need at heart is a change in cultural attitudes. UT is trying to engender a cultural revolution, one in which all peoples will have the opportunity to change their own culture, to make it more accepting of education. American culture is comprised of many cultures. Each needs to learn to value education. But that doesn't happen overnight. It'll come in time. As certain cultures grow to value education, the cycle will begin to break. For me, it has begun. I can say that by being exposed to so many different cultures (ethnicities) at UT, I have become more accepting of others. This would not have happened if I had gone to a less diverse school. And let's not forget that diversity means the inclusion of all peoples; it doesn't mean "discrimination" against whites, as many people believe. Whites add to diversity; without whites, multiculturalism is a farce. I can’t stress that enough. I don't think the issue is that we might have too many whites; the issue is that we might have too many people representing one culture—a monopoly on cultures. There’s the true tragedy UT is fighting to prevent.
    • Quote 2
      Mark Dominey said on June 25, 2013 at 2:44 p.m.
      As a parent of a 4th generation UT student (and UT alum myself), I want to point out that the media and much of society sees this as a problem of RACE, whereas UT frames it as a matter of ETHNICITY. These are not the same thing, according to standard social science definitions. "Race" is a social construct based on PHYSICAL features. It is entirely unscientific and has only existed in order to support discrimination. Ethnicity, on the other hand, is valid and self-defined, rooted in language, culture, family history (historic homeland), etc. The point is that you are free to choose it yourself and it is not physical, and also allows diversity (hyphenated sets of identifiers). It is very problematic when race and ethnicity are CONFLATED to mean the same thing, because they are not; only ethnicity is valid and at any rate the University should become both ethnic and COLOR-BLIND. Unfortunately, the USA and UT have a history of racism and discrimination, which has mostly been overcome, but until ALL remnants of racialized thinking are done away with in policies, if not society as a whole, then confusion and conflation, as well as discrimination will remain. If you are not yet convinced that race is an entirely harmful idea, at least admit that it is invalid inasmuch as nobody can even define where the boundaries are, how many races there are, and so it is unhelpful in any way. The fact that it is impossible to label all of humanity into discreet categories (we are all mixtures and our DNA does not seem to relate to physical features like we might think), and supposed borderline areas (the greys between the black and white) are too similar to differentiate in any meaningful way, is why what has often been described as 5-7 supposed races gets reduced to "black" and "white." We are now in the absurd situation where in addition to black and white, "Hispanics" have "white" and "non-white" categories to claim, Asians are lumped together in spite of great diversity, and "native" American ("Indians") have a category of their own. It is the bastardization of both race and ethnicity. If you are going to make ethnicity meaningful, at least allow the Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese to identify as separate categories, because they don't want to belong together (not just for historic reasons, but due to their own false thoughts on "blood" being a core component of ethnicity, rather than culture, which is learned where you grow up). A Japanese man in the US actually sued the Supreme Court for considering him to be the same race as Chinese (and he lost... at the time of the Chinese Exclusion Act). But then again, many like my child are mixtures of the major categories ("mixed-race") and are left perplexed with how to identify. If an advantage is offered to self-describing oneself as "Asian," then I guess a person is free to take it. (Asians are many times disproportionate at UT than to society as a whole, but UT has set standards of excellence that do not correspond to society as a whole or the average, which is fine). Having said that, as I have observed how race and ethnicity are used here over the years, it seems obvious to me that the African-American community wants to keep "race" alive as category of discussion, because of a continuing sense of discrimination and historic injustice. I think this is a serious mistake. Even the US President is described as black, which stretches the reality that he was raised by his Caucasian mother and her family. This is the reality of diversity in America in the 21st century and UT needs to lead the way in changing the way society frames the discussion. I hope a more enlightened manner of discussion will result for all students. Whenever anyone keeps using the race concept, the effect is to keep promoting radicalized thinking. I think the school has it right in refusing to recognize "race" in its public pronouncements and using ethnicity instead for the purposes of discussion. But ultimately neither category should be used for the purposes of admissions. We need to move on and the best thing that UT could do that would help would be to REQUIRE a freshman course on "Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism in the 21st Century." I regret that I never was taught properly these concepts in my humanities studies at UT and it was not until I went for a PhD at another school that I was required to learn them. It was transformative for me, but society as a whole has not caught up to that point. As I mentioned, my child is what most people call mixed race (having both "white" and Asian parents). Yet the state of Texas has never allowed my child to choose both together as an "ethnicity." For statistical purposes, it was always "choose ONE only" and no mixed or "other" was allowed. We have evolved only halfway in our thinking. Should my child emphasize the Asian half or the so-called Caucasian half? And since my child grew up overseas in a third country (unrelated to either parent; we moved overseas for my job), what about that nation's influence as the most defining aspect (or is not "American" alone good enough)? Since my child grew up in Asia does that mean this UT student, with one Asian parent, is more Asian? And if so, what difference does it make really? It seems UT would answer "We want diversity at our school, especially for many freshmen from Texas rural areas which do not have meaningful exposure to diversity." I was one of those kids. I went to UT specifically so I could learn a foreign language that was not taught elsewhere in the state. As a parent now I feel that although grades should not be the only factor, we would like to think that achievement and demonstrated capacity for learning is what matters most and skin color, self identifiers, or other social constructs matter not at all. And I want all schools to be color-blind, if not now, then as soon as possible. Furthermore, as the parent of a 4th generation UT student, I also fear that some schools that give preference to the children of alumni are also just extending race-based status quo. Maybe the solution is not so much admissions policies as requiring a course that will help all students think critically about the issues, and move on.
    • Quote 2
      scarlet said on June 25, 2013 at 12:38 p.m.
      I am a minority Asian and I worked extremely hard to be in top 2 percent of my class and to get into UT.I didn't get in because of my race but I got in because of my hard work. May be she should have done that also instead of complaining.
    • Quote 2
      Jamie said on June 24, 2013 at 3:44 p.m.
      Sadly, many smart caucasian students do not have the opportunity to attend UT, not only because of Texas' top 8% rule but also because of affirmative action. The top 8% rule should provide plenty of diversity for the University. Sad to tell your son or daughter (scored well on the ACT,4.9 GPA, top 25%) that bleeds orange that they cannot go to UT but another student who perhaps has similar scores but a more preferred ethnic background can attend UT. Don't know how you can defend this UT.
    • Quote 2
      Jonathan Holt said on June 24, 2013 at 12:50 p.m.
      Good to see the judicial system working!
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