The Fisher v. University of Texas case is still being seen before the Supreme Court in a long-awaited decision that the Supreme Court agreed to hear on February 21, 2012. This case deals with the affirmative action admission policy at the University of Texas. After Abigail Fisher was denied acceptance, she sued the University because she thought she should have been accepted. However, the case could have larger implications all throughout the country. The case has seen a recent burst in publicity as it draws to a close.
According to an article in The Daily Circuit this past Thursday, the Fisher v. University of Texas case poses the larger questions of:
What’s the value of affirmative action? How can admission policies be reformed?
One reason is that affirmative action in college admission helps to increase diversity at a school, which furthers education for all students. I know you’re probably thinking that you’ve heard that statement from me a lot, but the reason I emphasize this is because it’s true! Even though affirmative action only helps to increase diversity in some schools, it is a step in the right direction, and many private schools, including my own (Boston University), are realizing the benefits of diversity in admission and on campuses. According to The Daily Circuit, the biggest problem with affirmative action in college admission is the tendency for large preferences to damage the “intended beneficiaries.” Large preferences will place students in particular environments that don’t help them learn or compete successfully, and this is the largest problem that we are seeing today with affirmative action.
A New York Times article last week called the Fisher v. University of Texas case “the most anticipated case of the new Supreme Court term.” While many colleges value diversity, such as Rutgers University (public) and Syracuse University (private), it doesn’t seem like the court does.
The Grutter v. Bollinger ruling said colleges and universities should strive towards increasing racial diversity as long as the colleges and universities did not make race a determining factor in their admission. There have been important experiments done to make sure that all racial groups have access to equal higher education. These experiments could easily be threatened by a ruling in the Fisher case that would prohibit using race in any manner in public universities throughout the United States.
Many institutions today, both public and private, believe that diversity is important to the students’ intellectual, academic, and social development. However, the Fisher ruling will mostly likely decrease the diversity of these colleges and universities and weaken the education quality of their institution. If these institutions are not allowed to consider race in their admissions, they will not be offering the type of higher education that all Americans need, which is a diverse student body and equality in education.