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The Supreme Court case of Fisher v. Texas has been widely discussed (though admittedly, not as much as I'd like) here at The University of Texas at Austin. It was an especially hot topic last semester when the case had its first argument heard by the Supreme Court in October. 

Abigail Fisher, a white student who was not in the top 10% of her graduating high school class, filed suit against the University of Texas after not being admitted, claiming that the University's admissions process discriminated against her by giving minority students an advantage. Fisher's defense argues that affirmative action laws actually discriminated against her as a white student, and challenges the ruling of a previous case (Grutter v. Bollinger), in which the Supreme Court allowed race to play a minor role in universities' admissions policies. 

The University of Texas uses a holistic approach in the admissions process of students who fall outside the top 10% bracket. This means that UT takes race into consideration during admissions, but it is only one factor out of many, which include extracurriculars, GPA, community involvement, and others. More importantly, race is never the deciding factor for admissions. Interestingly, white students fare far better than minority students when it comes to admissions outside of the top 10%. Page 8 of this report shows us that white students still hold a clear advantage over people of color, especially African-American students. What is perhaps more amazing, is that white students were more likely to be accepted than any other group if they were NOT in the top 10% of their class than if they were. For example, in 2008, the year Fisher graduated from high school, 48% of students accepted through the top 10% rule were white. Out of the students accepted that were not in the top 10% of their class,  65% of them were white. Meanwhile, only 6% of admitted students in the top 10% were African-American, and 5% of students not automatically enrolled were African-American. All other minorities are similarly affected.

The case is still ongoing, with no clear developments yet. Part of the University's argument is that regardless of affirmative action or the top 10% rule, Fisher's grades and application were simply not good enough to meet the University's standards. In other words, even if race were never considered, she would have still been denied admission. Fisher v. Texas threatens to undo affirmative action across the country. We need affirmative action in order to achieve continued levels of success for ourselves, our peers, and all other future Latinitas/os (and every other minority as well!)

To help illustrate the importance of affirmative action, and to help explain why we still need to continue to fight for it, please watch the video below:

 

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