NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund collects data for brief in Fisher v. UT

Matthew Adams

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear the Fisher v. UT case for a second time, the NAACP is conducting a questionnaire with UT’s Black Student Alliance to gather information for a brief which it will file in the case.

Liliana Zaragoza, fellow for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said attorneys from the LDF met with the Black Student Alliance on Monday and distributed a questionnaire to the group. Information requested in this questionnaire consists of personal background, such as a student’s experience attending their high school and UT, but more specifically, what they have experienced with race and diversity at UT.

“The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) has represented the Black Student Alliance at UT Austin (BSA) and Black Ex-Students of Texas (BEST) as amicus curiae or ‘friend of the court’ in the Fisher litigation for several years,” Zaragoza said in an email. “Attorneys from LDF met with BSA members to discuss the litigation yesterday.”

Abigail Fisher, a white applicant who was denied admission to UT in 2008, sued the University saying she was discriminated against because of the University’s race-conscious admissions policy. As part of the holistic review for students not in the top ten percent, any “special circumstances,” which include race and ethnicity, are considered in admissions.

The Supreme Court first heard the case in 2012 and then sent it back to the 5th Circuit Courts of Appeals. The 5th Circuit ruled in UT’s favor, saying the University passed legal standings. Fisher asked the Supreme Court in February that her case be heard again.

Monique Lin-Luse, special counsel to the NAACP, said she attended the Black Student Alliance meeting Monday to distribute a questionnaire and collect information from the group. This questionnaire is not open to the other African-American students on campus.

David McDonald Jr., former president of the Black Student Alliance, said this information gathered will be included in the brief filed in this case. 
“The questionnaire will be used as a qualitative analysis of the experiences of students of color to show race and a lack of diversity impacts their college experience,” McDonald, an applied learning and development and African and African diaspora studies senior, said.

Clarification: The headline has been updated since publication to clarify that the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund is collecting data for a brief for the Fisher v. UT case, not the NAACP.