University of Texas at Austin President Responds to Supreme Court Ruling

June 24, 2013

AUSTIN, Texas — 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 at Austin. 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."

President Bill Powers, Admissions Director and Vice Provost Kedra Ishop, and Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement Greg Vincent will have a press conference at 2 p.m. today in the Main Building on the University of Texas at Austin campus in Room 212.

Media resources:

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

11 Comments to "University of Texas at Austin President Responds to Supreme Court Ruling"

1.  Guillermo Aldana said on June 24, 2013

In a 7-1 vote, the court vacated the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals judgment in favor of UT Austin, but sent the case back to the lower court for further proceedings.

I commend The University for continuing to provide the opportunity for deserving, hardworking minorities, that come from underprivilage backgrounds a chance to arm themselves with a world class education.

Guillermo E. Aldana, PhD - Mechanical Engineering
Acoustics (2002)

2.  anthony Daniels said on June 24, 2013

MaleThank You President Powers, Just
Watched You On CNN keep The Faith ! You Are
Doing The Right Thing. I'm Not A TU Student OR
Do I Live In TX. But I Value Your Cause And Wanted You To Know You Have Support! In Life I've Been Rejected For So many opportunities, However I Blame No One. I AM A Black Hispanic Male 59 Yo. I Prevailed My Friend!

3.  Jim Cottrell said on June 25, 2013

I do not know the particulars of this case, but not sure I need to know.
Not long ago, it used to be higher education was all about academic excellence.
Does not using race as a deciding admissions factor lend itself to abuse?
Who decides when race will be applied for admission into the student body?
Is race applied to the entire student body, or does it exclude certain groups such as scholarship applicants, athletes, the 1%ers, the famous, alumni offspring, etc.?
And why just race? How about sex? Sexual orientation? Age? Genealogy? Religious preference? Political preference? Economic background? Marital status? Disability? Height? Weight? Shoe size? How many criteria make up this diversity initiative?
Does diversity apply only to the student body, or does it include the faculty and administration?
Since you claim diversity, who decides how many of what type will comprise the University populous, what is your performance record, and where is this published?
I’ve lived a diverse life, having lived in over 10 states, traveled through all but 4, spent years living in 3 foreign countries, traveled over half of Europe and been conversant with people from all around the globe, to include Syria, Pakistan, India, Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, and Russia.
Pretty sure none of that made me a better Aeronautical Engineer.
If your intent is truly diversity, then you can answer all these questions thoroughly and completely.
If not, then you’ve institutionalized discrimination.
In fact, kinda think that is what the SCOTUS asked the lower court to do –ask you questions like this.

4.  Guillermo Aldana said on June 25, 2013

@Jim: Jim, your comment on merit seem to me a bit misguided. The entire point of affirmative action is to give an underprivilage populuation the opportunity to compete. I can tell you from first hand experience like you had, that at least for me - Texas pushed me. I went into the Library on Friday Night, Back at it on Saturday, Sunday till midnight and after plowing from "obvious" derivations to Mr. Landau (classical mechanics) - I proudly solved the 4564 variation of the harmonic oscillator. Granted, I worked full time for the bulk of my PhD work at Texas - It would have been no different as the complexity of the problems don't care about your schedule. When a University, uplifts the standard previously held by a population of individuals, that possibly (and most likekly) came from underfunded high schools due to their economic situation; that is the great equalizer - a high level education. That individual is now in a position to contribute and live the American dream, and therefore, his future generations; it usually snowballs from generations forward. The impact is huge, the economic benefit to this country is tremendous. There was a time where only the wealthy got and education; going back in history, most of the great scientist had the means to allow them to think, develop, innovate and implement. The crop worker's son, goes and gets a high school diploma, his grandaughter now gets a B.S., next thing you know you have an MD-PhD with the last name Gutierrez (to pick a name) at John Hopkins innovating various imaging techniques for an MRI; as they say "inspiration has to catch you working" - trust me, had not I lived at the Library for my tenure at Texas, and not perform to some sort of acceptable standard, Texas faculty would have failed me. I have seen over 85% of the entering candidates fail their qualfiying examination - Once you are in, it is up for you to take advantage of the resources they provide for you to succeed. Best wishes, and I hope that you start seeing the other side of the coin one day. G

5.  Jaimie said on June 25, 2013

Guillermo sums it up nicely. Minorities are more likely to come from lower SES backgrounds, which is reflected in their education and test scores. Choosing students solely on "merit" favors those from better SES backgrounds, and denies those who may have potential but have not had the opportunity and support to reach it. "Diversity" allows those students to have a chance to achieve higher education. It's not about lowering standards, it's about raising up those who started out farther behind and leveling the playing field.

6.  Michael said on June 27, 2013

One side of the coin that every supporter of affirmative action needs to be considerate of is the resentment that the majority populous has against it. We have all seen people that did not truly deserve to be admitted into college regardless of background. Anytime someone's acceptance / pay / other benefits is not based on merit it is not fair to those whom have achieved better grades, test scores, better job performance etc. This is applicable to both college and unfortunately it carries over into the professional world. Affirmative action is just a government sanctioned form of racisim. I am not an academic, just a down to earth hard working recent college grad that is unhappy with the socialistic direction that our country is taking. Every two weeks when I open up my pay check and view the amount of taxes that are taken out I have no choice but to scratch my head and wonder what is going wrong. I work in sales and my pay is exclusively merit based aka commission (currently at $73,000 ytd). Affirmative action and the other highly socialistic ideals that we are employing will turn us into Europe which I am not very fond of. What do I kn Thanks and Gig'em.

7.  Michael said on June 27, 2013

One side of the coin that every supporter of affirmative action needs to be considerate of is the resentment that the majority populous has against it. I flat out have zero respect for people receiving things that they did not earn. Mr. Aldana, no offense but your ethnic group should be the last in Texas to receive any minority benefits. Hispanics are considered Caucasian just like me. Anytime someone's acceptance / pay / other benefits is not based on merit it is not fair to those whom have achieved better grades, test scores, better job performance etc. This is applicable to both college and unfortunately it carries over into the professional world. Affirmative action is just a government sanctioned form of racisim. I am not an academic, just a down to earth hard working recent college grad that is unhappy with the socialistic direction that our country is taking. Every two weeks when I open up my pay check and view the amount of taxes that are taken out I have no choice but to scratch my head and wonder what is going wrong. I work in sales and my pay is exclusively merit based aka commission (currently at $73,000 ytd). Affirmative action and the other highly socialistic ideals that we are employing will turn us into Europe which I am not very fond of. I think that everyone in support of affirmative action should pat me on the back for me overcoming this institutionalized form of racisim and making a very successful life for myself. Who knows, maybe I'll be put in the history books or even have a national holiday named after me.

8.  Naiman Rigby said on June 30, 2013

Here are diversity statistics for UT and poverty rates based on race as well as other factors. Seems like the system works. As long as these two things (race and poverty) are directly related we should continue to work towards disrupting that connection and embracing the social potential of a diverse society where everyone is less obsessed with winning and more attentive to playing a fair game.

http://collegeprowler.com/university-of-texas----austin/diversity/facts/

http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/12_2_0.html

9.  Guillermo Aldana said on July 3, 2013

@Michael: No offense taken Michael - As I said, anyone who makes it out of UT's program has earned it. The faculty has very high standards, and the reputation of its Alumn in industry is high, because of the beating we take in grad school. Also, congratulations on your succesful sales career - I am sure you log in the hours to get your pay.

Regarding your comment about the % of hispanics in Texas - well, South Africa is mostly black, but the for the longest time, the ruling class was of Dutch descent - so the number although speak for the demographics of the location, do not reflect the %of the population given a chance to obtain a higher education. It has been merely 50 something years since the Equal rights movement - that is about 1.5 generations. The first black person to attend a southern university was not too long ago....do you really think, underprivilage folks (and I am agreeing with Naiman here, the family in a shack in Kentucky with a promising, but untested and unchallenged child, by their educations system has equal admision merit as a minority of the same economic background) have been granted an equal footing to prepare for a top university, as a rule? I know first hand the answer is NO. At LSU, I happened to enroll in the honors math program, throughout the entire tenure - I came from a local, Louisiana High School, state funded; I was also the only minority in my class. My competition was, extremely well prepared, high school students from the a national recognized highshool in Louisiana; and they have seen Cal college level WAAY before I did.
They were much better prepared than I was to attend LSU. I make no excuses - so I had to bust my little behind and learn discipline and study habits to compete. I did alright, I managed to get into Texas after it all said and done. The field leveled at my junior year when NO ONE had seen control systems, digital design, power electronics, etc. Some of the folks who were brilliant the first two years, remained so - but only a few. The rest of the well prepared, highly recruited highschool students - their performance started dropping relative to their first two years - and those of us who wished to compete - started doing better than the average bear. It's not a unique story Michael, it is what happens every year, with the incoming freshman class at most top universities. People from poor economic background are simply not well prepared for the university - but that does not mean they are not bright; and to deny the chance to change the injustice that prevailed for well over 189 years in this nation; where minorities were NOT allowed to compete - is simply not right. The Munich Olympics come to mind, the first African American Heavy weight boxer is second to pop into my mind - Tiger Woods, The Williams Sisters. Lets give the academic Tiger Woods waiting in the wings - a chance to show, that they are as capable as anyone else - remember, it is the basis of our constitution. Again, I have no sympathy for some one who waste their chance and fails out, because Texas, will fail you out. I do have a great deal of hope, that kids from underprivialge backgrounds realize the great opportunity that has been put in front of them - the great equalizer - an education. Best wishes. Guillermo

10.  Texasmike said on July 4, 2013

@Michael "resentment that the majority populous" if white victimhood is what you need as a motivator in your life, fine, but know this: You are living with a deluded paranoid selfish point of view. I guess its always the same with you people, a minority can only be admitted if they perform 10 times better than you have to and even then you have to throw it in their face that they are lucky to be even allowed in the room.

11.  Sheri said on July 6, 2013

@Michael- Wonder where the Michael's of the world were when NO qualified minority was granted entry at UT? Where were the Michael's of the world then? Oh yes...they were enjoying all the sweet offerings that white privilege could muster at that time. The next time you open your check, think of the blacks, Asians, Hispanics, etc., who had to pay those same taxes, while being deemed, at every strata of society, second class citizens. Hard when privilege goes away and you have to actually earn what whiteness granted you carte blanche isn't it? I wouldn't know since neither I nor anyone in my family has ever been give anything based on our race- not even basic human respect. Sounds like you miss 'the good ole days' when folks like you could sit in the shade, on your porch, in your rocker, and drink tea while a darkie fanned a cool breeze over you. Stop whining Michael. Some of us lived sitting at the back of the bus and restricted covenant neighborhoods. Maybe they should name a special day after you- All Whiners Day. My family never asked for a handout, only equal access to opportunity. When will people like you see that it doesn't have to be either/or anymore?