How a Texas Woman may Redefine Affirmative Action

itshisfault-from-talk-onevietnam-orgIn 2008 Abigail Noel Fisher and Rachel Multer Michalewicz applied to the University of Texas at Austin and both were denied entry.    The two women, both white, filed suit, alleging that the University had discriminated against them on the basis of their race in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.  The women feel they were denied due to their race while the University contends they would not have been admitted regardless of their race.  Just as the UC system in California accepts students in the top 3% of their class with no regard to race, the Texas system automatically accepts those in the top 10%.

Applicants who, like Fisher, fail to graduate in the top 10% of their high schools, have a further opportunity to gain admission to the University by scoring highly in a process which evaluates their talents, leadership qualities, family circumstances and race.[5][6] Fisher had a grade point average of 3.59 (adjusted to 4.0 scale)[7] and was in the top 12% of her class at Stephen F. Austin High School.[7] She scored 1180 on her SAT (measured on the old 1600 point scale, because UT Austin did not consider the writing section in its undergraduate admissions decision for the 2008 incoming freshman class).[7] The 25th and 75th percentiles of the incoming class at UT-Austin were 1120 and 1370.[7] She was involved in the orchestra and math competitions and volunteered at Habitat for Humanity.[7] 

In 2009 the  United States District Court judge upheld the University’s policy, finding that it meets the standards laid out in Grutter v. Bollinger.  That decision was affirmed by a Fifth Circuit panel. In September 2011, lawyers representing Fisher filed petition seeking review from the Supreme Court.[2] On February 21, 2012, the court granted certiorari in Fisher v. University of Texas.

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in October 2012.   If the Court overrules Grutter, it would likely end affirmative action at public universities in the United States, which would exclude minorities and boost enrollment for whites and Asians.

You will recall Proposition 209 ended affirmative action in the UC process thanks to Ward Connerly, the lone university to step up and make moves to ensure minorities were still represented was UC Berekely.

What are these two women saying in a nutshell?  Many kids, including many minorities, are aware that in certain school systems, if you are in the highest ranking of your graduating class, you will automatically be admitted to the college of your choice.  It is critical to note that Ward Connerly was instrumental in getting Proposition 209 passed in California, which ultimately decreased minority enrollment drastically, seeing that normally the top 3% of students in their graduating class are automatically admitted.  Do we see the correlation of a society who no longer wants minority children to benefit from a free public education?  These two women are outraged that minorities performed better than them and thus got an opportunity that she felt entitled to based on her grades and outside interests and also being white.

This white privilege nonsense has got to stop.  Maybe if Ms. Fisher had removed a couple of her extra activities, she could have placed in a higher percentile of her graduating class.  It is critical to note that her co-defendant has since dropped out of the lawsuit and Ms. Fisher is citing damages of $100 which was her application fee.  She enrolled at Louisiana State University where she has graduated.

Do you think that the Supreme Court should remove affirmative action from the admissions process in every college/university in the United States?  Remember, that would mean that even if your child(ren) are in the top 1-10% of their class, they can be denied if someone white wants that spot.

Today, June 24th, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the lower court for reconsideration.

Speak on it below!

Related articles

Race Didn’t Cost Abigail Fisher Her Spot at the University of Texas (2013)


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About Melissa

I am a lifelong Inglewood resident living in District 4. I serve on PTA and School Site Council as Vice-President, for the last 8 years with Inglewood Unified School District. I volunteer on the Wellness Committee for ICEF Public Schools. I am an alumni of California State University, Dominguez Hills with a degree in Political Science. You can find me on Twitter under @CreoleMommie

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