University ranking is oversimplified

As a proud alumna of the University of Texas, I am disappointed in the article published by The Daily Texan, written by Daniel Hung, which I would argue misconstrues the role race plays in the top 10 percent admissions policy. African-American and Latino students currently account for roughly 24 percent of the student population at UT. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, African-Americans and Latinos are 51 percent of the Texas population. Furthermore, African-American and Latino students represented 59% of high school graduating seniors in the state of Texas. If race is an admissions factor, it is certainly not disproportionately benefiting the races and/or ethnicities Hung mentions. 

The source that Hung utilized to quote UT as being ranked 17th is U.S. News and World Report. In researching the methodology used by the publication when ranking universities, I discovered that several factors are considered. The range of academic offerings, cost and availability of financial aid, activities and sports, “feel of campus life” and the school’s mission are a few of the variables evaluated. To simply attribute the University’s ranking to the top 10 percent rule, or more specifically, Latino and African-American students admitted under this rule, is not only a misuse of deductive reasoning, but a gross generalization Hung fails to support. 

While retention and graduation rates are a factor, I would like to draw attention to the accountability report released by UT, which highlights that it currently has the highest four-year graduation rate in the state at 55 percent, the highest ever in the University’s history. Given this, I’d like to think we are a positive contribution to the university’s numbers.

— Ashley Hickson, alumna, in response to Daniel Hung’s Monday column titled “Nix the top 10 percent rule, affirmative action.”