Politic365

 
 


National

3:15pm July 11, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Value of Diversity in Higher Education

Fisher v. Texas dvierstiy

On Monday, June 24, 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in the Fisher v. UT Austin case. In that case, the Caucasian plaintiff, Abigail Fisher, challenged the admissions program of The University of Texas at Austin (UT) and contended that her denial of admission violated the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. This was a highly watched case and over 70 amicus briefs were filed, most in support of UT’s holistic admissions process which considers an applicant’s race/ethnicity as one of several factors regarding admission to the school.

The case is especially significant for diversity and inclusion practitioners.  While the plaintiff purported not to challenge existing law, there was considerable concern that the high Court might do just that, overrule the Michigan Law School case.  In Grutter v. Bollinger, decided in 2003, the Supreme Court upheld the Law School’s use of race/ethnicity as one of several “plus factors” in an admissions process that evaluated the overall individual contribution of each candidate for admissions.   The Court recognized that Michigan had a compelling state interest is achieving the educational benefits of a diverse  student body.  The Court’s agreement to review the Fisher case so soon after the Grutter decision put the holding of the Michigan case at risk.

In its 7-1 opinion, the Court remanded the Fisher case to the Fifth Circuit for consideration under a strict scrutiny standard of review. In short, the Court vacated the favorable decision for UT, which had been appealed by Ms. Fisher, and concluded that the lower court had not followed the correct legal standard.

Significantly, the existing precedent established in the Michigan case regarding the importance of diversity in the educational context remains valid.

The fight to preserve the benefits of a diverse classroom is far from over, but at least for today, the right to try to achieve them remains.

As UT’s President Bill Powers stated following the Fisher decision: “We’re encouraged by the Supreme Court’s ruling in this case. We will continue to defend the University’s admission policy on remand in the lower court under the strict standards that the Court first articulated in the Bakke case, reaffirmed in the Grutter case, and laid out again today. We believe the University’s policy fully satisfies those standards. We remain committed to assembling a student body at The University of Texas at Austin that provides the educational benefits of diversity on campus while respecting the rights of all students and acting within the constitutional framework established by the Court.”

As diversity and inclusion practitioners, we recognize the value of diversity — from the classroom to the boardroom.  And as the demographics of our country continue to move toward a more ethnically diverse population, we must protect the ability of all students, our future employees and leaders, to derive the benefits of a diverse learning environment.

********

Elizabeth A. Campbell is a Partner and Chief Diversity Officer for Andrews Kurth LLP and is a member of True Blue Inclusion.  She is responsible for the development and implementation of the diversity and inclusion components of the firm’s strategic plan, and collaborates with the firm’s Labor and Employment Section attorneys and is a frequent speaker, training facilitator and author on the topic of diversity and inclusion and related employment law topics.  Along with her partners Gene Locke and Lino Mendiola, Elizabeth filed an amicus brief in the Fisher case on behalf of the Houston Community College System supporting the admissions program of UT.

 



About the Author

Guest Contributor
Guest Contributor





 
 

 
Robert-Kenney-missouri-public-service-commission

Meet Robert Kenney, Missouri’s Regulator in Chief

In our sound byte culture, where our knowledge of political leaders and policymakers tends to be limited to the “it” figure of the day, whatever personality is being the most polarizing or driving the most controver...
by Kristal High
0

 
 
Cory Booker

Tech for All: Senator Booker’s Plan to Increase Tech Engagement and Access for People of Color

Since winning his special election in October 2013, Senator Cory Booker has become vocal in the U.S. Senate not only for New Jersey citizens but also people of color. Sen. Booker’s committee assignments include the coveted Co...
by Charlyn Stanberry
0

 
 
5665183743_3604a2686f_b

Childhood poverty: majority of U.S. public school students eligible for free or reduced lunch

Rising income inequality in the U.S. has produced a startling statistic: 51% of U.S. public school children in pre-K through 12th grade were eligible under the federal program for free and reduced-price lunches in the 2012-201...
by Adriana Maestas
1

 

Advertisement
 
Screen Shot 2014-12-23 at 8.47.46 AM

Green 2.0: Breaking the Green Ceiling

“It is essential for us to have a diverse workforce. Our job is to create a healthy and clean environment for our communities, especially for low-income and communities of color who are typically affected by pollution.” ~EP...
by Charlyn Stanberry
0

 
 
techtele

What Tech Can Learn from Telecom

Tech companies must take a beat from telecom and plan for the longevity of diverse employees.
by Kristal High
0

 




3 Comments


  1. […] U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Value of Diversity in Higher Education This article, from a website devoted to analysis of politics and policy related to communities of color, analyzes the Fisher decision from a point of view that advocates for diversity in higher education. (Source: politic365.com, July 11, 2013) […]


  2. Hi to every body, it’s my first pay a visit
    of this blog; this blog carries amazing and genuinely fine information for visitors.

    Stop by my web-site: club k fastpitch softball training facility [http://hittheballhard.weebly.Com/]



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>