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Fisher v. Texas

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Focus on Affirmative Action

Fisher V. Texas (2008)

Case Overview:

In today’s academia environment the persistent of students in higher education continues to be a critical issue. Race and affirmative action also seem to be an admission’s hot topic and in the case Fisher v. Texas (2008) was no exemption.

As a result from the Grutter v. Bollinger case , Texas law (1997) has guaranteed in-state applicants who are in the top 10 percent of their high school’s graduating class admission to any public university in the state (chronicle, 2008). Texas adopted this percentage plan because many of the states high schools are largely segregated by housing patterns, not law. “Although Texas is rapidly becoming a “majority minority state,” the demographic profile of the two public flagships has failed to keep pace with the growth of admitted to the public flagships actually enroll, both institutions will weaken their reach in educating a leadership class for the Senate’s rapidly growing minority population” (Tienda, 2003).).

Abigail Noel Fisher filed a lawsuit in federal court, because she was rejected from the University if Texas Austin. The suit charges that Fisher would have otherwise been admitted-but for the affirmative action as practiced by the university (Inside HigherEd, 2008). However, Fisher’s case does not challenge the 10 percent law, rather it contends that UT-Austin unlawfully uses racial and ethnic criteria to select other students (Houston Chronicle,2008 ).The admissions policies and procedures currently applied by Defendants discriminate against Plaintiff on the basis of her race in violation of her right to equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution, U.S. Const. amend. XIV, 1, and federal civil rights statutes, 42 U.S.C.( United States District Court). Fisher is seeking that her application be re-evaluated under race neutral criteria and requiring UT-Austin to admit her so long as she is qualified under race-neutral criteria. She is also seeking attorney fees as well as all other relief the Court finds appropriate and just (United States District Court).

What is the 10 percent plan?

Some major findings from this 10 percentage plan are, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that percentage plans, even with other race-conscious processes, are effective alternatives to using race/ethnicity as a factor in admissions processes; percent plans only set basic requirement for who can automatically be admitted to a campus or to a system so the implementation of the plan at individual institutions varies dramatically. Therefore, there is no standard model to which to compare how well these plans work or whether they could be replicated; and The University of Texas at Austin (UT) consciously supplements the 10 percent plan with outreach and scholarship programs (The Civil Rights Project Group, 2003). Also the percent plans are not implements to serve as an alternative to affirmative action. . The plan was established to promote racial and ethnic diversity on campuses. Such states as Texas, Florida, and California have low levels of minority access to higher education even before losing race-conscious affirmative action, thus have adopted this plan to better serve the community at large.

Impacting Roles:

The Good:

The Fisher V. Texas (2008), case could have possible impacting roles for both California and Florida public universities. Yet, some studies have shown that this plan has brought about great racial diversity and has made a larger audience more aware of their higher education access options. State Rep. Helen Giddings, who represents Dallas and is a co-author of the 1997 top-10-percent law, a Democrat, argued that the 10-percent plan increases the chances that students from many districts around the state can attend the university system's flagship institution (Chronicle, 2007).

The Bad:

Due to this law now over 70 percent of the students at the University of Texas Austin were accepted because they were students who graduated in the top 10 percent of their class. Many fear the day when the all the freshman seats will be filled with 10 percenters, due to the lack of cap on this policy. Earlier this week, University of Texas (UT) President William Powers discussed one unintended consequence of the Ten Percent Plan. Eighty-one percent of Texas freshmen were admitted through the 10 percent rule. If lawmakers don’t change the policy for 2009, says Powers, UT will run out of room for students who are not admitted under the policy ( American Civil Rights Institute, 2008).

Feedback, submissions, ideas? Email kaw87@drexel.edu.