Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Two Views on Hopwood

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Two Views on Hopwood

Article excerpt

Texas Attorney General John Cornyn's Opinion--1999

Dear Sen. (Bill) Ratliff:

You ask whether public institutions of higher education in the state of Texas are precluded under the court's decision in Hopwood v. Texas, from considering race or ethnicity in decisions regarding student financial assistance. This office considered a similar question and rendered an opinion in early 1997, concluding that Hopwood precluded state universities from considering race as a factor in any aspect of measuring or awarding higher education benefits, including admissions, financial aid, recruiting and retention.

We caution that the law concerning the consideration of race in higher education programs is in flux and is likely to remain so in the near future. As you know, the question of the state's higher education institutions' authority to consider race as a factor in their admissions programs currently is pending before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Hopwood v. Texas. We hope the 5th Circuit will take the current round of Hopwood litigation en banc and give some additional guidance and clarification in this area of the law, but only the U.S. Supreme Court can resolve these sensitive issues with any degree of certainty. Absent clear guidance from the high court, we think it inadvisable to reach broad conclusions on what may or may not be permitted under Hopwood on matters other than admissions. Because this office's prior opinion on the subject does just that, we withdraw it. We advise state universities in Texas to await a resolution of Hopwood in the 5th Circuit or the U.S. Supreme Court before restructuring or adopting new procedures for their financial aid programs.

Texas Attorney Dan Morales' Opinion -- 1997

Dear Chancellor (William) Hobby:

We have received your opinion request dated Jan. …

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