University of Texas Campuses Can Make the Choice on Affirmative Action

Article excerpt


The University of Texas Board of Regents earlier this month approved a policy that allows individual campuses within the UT System to decide whether to adopt affirmative-action criteria in admissions.

Authority may be further decentralized to separate colleges and even academic departments within those 15 university campuses as a way to enroll a more diverse student population.

The regents' action on affirmative action was a response to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in June that public universities can use race and ethnicity as a factor when admitting students. The high court's ruling negated the Hopwood decisions in Texas, which prohibited use of race in college admissions and financial aid.

Regents chairman Charles Miller of Houston said Hopwood impeded the state's efforts to create more diverse college campuses, and that public schools in neighboring states could offer better deals to minority students from Texas.

"The handcuffs are off," Miller says. "We are now in a sense on an equal playing field (with other states)."

The new policy states that race and ethnicity can be considered only if non-race-conscious alternatives are found to be inadequate to achieve the desired level of diversity. And any policy adopted would have to comply with the framework set by the Supreme Court, which ruled that race can be a factor in admissions, but not the only factor. …


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