Blogpost: Supreme Court to Rule on Issues of Race in College Admissions

By Marisol Ramos

Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court began to hear oral arguments in the Fisher v. Texas case as part of a decision whether to limit or rule out taking race into account in college admissions. Of stake in the Fisher v. Texas case is the ability of public universities to fulfill missions to diversity and the possibility that affirmative action will end at public universities in the United States.

Abigail Fisher, a Caucasian student, claimed that she was denied admission to the University of Texas at Austin because of her race. Fisher did not otherwise qualify for a Texas college admissions policy that admits the top ten percent of high school students to the state’s public universities. Similarly, two students argued that they were denied admission at the University of Michigan based on their race in the Gratz v. Bollinger and Grutter v. Bollinger cases; the latter upheld the affirmative action admissions policy at the University of Michigan Law School. Grutter v. Bollinger helped influence the finding that the UT Austin’s policy met the standards laid out in the case and was not unconstitutional. However, the case was accepted for further review at the Supreme Court.

While the Court reviews Fisher v. Texas, the future of affirmative action is uncertain. Our work at the National Forum has researched institutional case studies exploring general decision patterns related to protecting and advancing access and inclusion.  When facing a controversial issue, such as access to higher education for undocumented students, some institutional leaders step up to leadership challenge and uphold values of inclusion. Our work will continue to inform other leaders who face similar issues and as we wait and see how the Fisher v. Texas case is resolved.

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