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September 02, 2003

UT to consider Race in Admissions

By Byron LaMasters

From a UT News Release last week:

Effective ways to include race as a factor in selecting applicants for admission are being evaluated by administrators at The University of Texas at Austin, which plans to implement a revised admissions process by fall 2004.

Dr. Bruce Walker, vice provost and director of admissions at the university, said he and Provost Sheldon Ekland-Olson have been working with other university officials for several weeks to develop an admissions process that includes race as a factor. Their plan must undergo reviews by President Larry R. Faulkner, as well as by the University of Texas System’s legal counsel before a final version is submitted to the Board of Regents for its consideration and approval.

“Our mission is to serve the entire state of Texas, and right now we have certain segments of the population that, by all indicators, are underserved,” said Ekland-Olson. “We are looking for all kinds of ways to improve on that and this gives us one more tool to use.”

The fall 2002 freshman class at The University of Texas at Austin included 13.6 percent Hispanics and 3.4 percent African American students. In comparison, the statewide demographic figures show Hispanics are 32 percent of the state population and African Americans are about 11 percent.

Walker said all 15 components in The University of Texas System are required to have plans reviewed by the system prior to implementation of race as a factor in the admissions process. He said the university’s “holistic” review of each applicant takes many factors into consideration in addition to academic strength.

I'll be interested to see what the eventual policy is. I do support considering race as a factor in admissions, but not "quotas". But Affirmative Action isn't quotas, so I support Affirmative Action. It's time for UT to have a student body that looks more like Texas by finding and recruiting more well-qualified minority students.

Posted by Byron LaMasters at September 2, 2003 02:02 PM | TrackBack


It's time for UT to have a student body that looks more like Texas by finding and recruiting more well-qualified minority students.

It's time for the Texas K-12 schools to produce more well-qualified minority students, so that Affirmative Action is not used as a band-aid to cover up the failures at the K-12 level.

Posted by: Mark Harden at September 2, 2003 06:09 PM

Mark, for once I agree with most of what you say. I think that Affirmative Action is an imperfect solution to a problem with no good answers. Unfortunately, until people of all races and classes have equal access and opportunities in K-12 education I think that it's necessary for institutions of education to go out of their way to find and recruit such qualified minorities.

Posted by: ByronUT at September 2, 2003 08:29 PM


'Recruiting' and 'giving preference to' should NEVER be conflated, as you are doing. There's a gulf of difference between a school trying to get more minorities to apply and giving those minorities preferences over their white counterparts. The former involves discriminating in recruiting, the latter involves discriminating in actual admissions.

And as affirmative action involves preferences, it also ultimately involves quotas. The Supreme Court dodged this issue by pathetically claiming that a 'critical mass' was not a quota -- which is an insult to the intelligence of any honest person tracking the case. If a school is trying to create a racially diverse enviroment through racial preferences for minorities, they have numbers in mind. Even the University of Michigan admitted this.

So Byron, I think you're doing two things: 1) confusing recruiting with admissions, and 2) drawing a distinction between quotas and preferences when none exists in practice.

Posted by: Owen Courrèges at September 3, 2003 03:19 AM

Unfortunately, until people of all races and classes have equal access and opportunities in K-12 education

Without competition, the public school system will never be accountable for their failures. More money is not the solution - if anything there is now a reverse correlation between funding level and academic performance, beyond basic infrastructure, at least. And "basic infrastructure" doesn't mean a laptop for each student and a break room for every five teachers.

Posted by: Mark Harden at September 3, 2003 01:52 PM

There's nothing to gain and nothing to lose.

Posted by: Ahmad Saif at February 27, 2004 01:51 PM
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