Civil rights leaders support use of race as a factor for university admissions


Sending a message that race conscious admissions play an integral role in crafting a world-class university, civil rights organizations supporting UT’s admissions policy held a conference call with reporters this morning to discuss what is at stake in the upcoming Supreme Court case Fisher v. Texas.


Hosted by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, several civil rights leaders defended the University’s current use of race as a factor in admitting some students as constitutional and vital to create leaders prepared for a complex world.


“Among leading Fortune 100 corporations, all have said that they are dealing with an extraordinarily complex world, and that having graduates who have experienced diversity is absolutely essential for them to meet the challenges of a changing world,” said Paul Wolfson, author of a brief filed on behalf of the University representing several Ivy League colleges.


A ruling that removed or curtailed the use of race as a factor in admissions would also disproportionately harm women and women of color, said Marcia Greenberger, founder and co-president of the National Women’s Law Center.


“Our young students of color, young women, and especially young women of color will be shoved out of positions if there are not policies that correct these problems,” Greenberger said.


Debo Adegbile, acting president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, said race-conscious admissions help create an environment in the classroom that mitigates the natural tendencies for students self-segregate and create stereotypes.


“For far too many, college is the first time when students have a meaningful changes to interact with people who are different from themselves,” Adegbile said. “It’s a criticalperiod when biases can be challenged and replaced with experiences. We can discoverhow much we share and can leave the stereotypes we have all heard about behind.”


Oral arguments on Fisher v. Texas are scheduled for next week on Oct. 10. The eventual ruling in the case will decide the role and importance of affirmative action and diversity on college campuses across the nation.