UT Revives Affirmative Action
The Supreme Court ruled that as long as the goal of racial diversity is not used mechanically or numerically, but as part of a "holistic" evaluation for admissions, such programs are permissible. In a separate opinion, the court ruled that a point-based undergraduate Michigan admissions program is illegal. Both Laycock and UT President Larry Faulkner said that in its admissions for 2005-2006, the school would install affirmative-action programs that meet the court's guidelines. He said the school already evaluates "holistically" some 12,000 undergraduate applications and would not need to add staff to establish a new program.
The Legislature has since enacted a "Top 10%" program to help boost minority enrollment, by guaranteeing a UT spot for any student who ranks in the Top 10% of his or her high school class. Administrators have asked lawmakers to consider a cap on those admissions, because roughly 75% of the 2004 freshman class, and a projected 90% of the 2005 class, is likely to be automatically admitted under the law.
"We would like to keep it more in the range of 50 to 60%," said Faulkner, "because we think it's unhealthy to have so many students admitted on the basis of a single criterion. We hope that the decision of the court will make legislators more willing to revisit this issue."