Naked City

UT Ready to Bring Back Race

UT-Austin officials announced on Monday that the school has presented to the UT System a proposal to include race and ethnicity as factors for consideration in admissions. The proposal comes after a U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this year upholding the University of Michigan's use of affirmative action in admissions.

According to a press release received shortly before press time, "The use of race and ethnicity as factors in the admission process is essential, according to the proposal, because race-neutral policies" -- that is, the Top 10% plan, which admitted any freshman in the top 10% of his or her high school class -- "alone have failed to produce a critical mass of minority students at the classroom level." Such a "critical mass," the university says, "provides a learning environment with exposure to diverse ideas and cultures that better prepares students for leadership in an increasingly global and multicultural society."

State law requires public hearings before modifying admissions factors, so the policy, if passed, cannot be implemented earlier than 2005. Under the proposal, the UT School of Law -- whose former admissions policies were thrown out by the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1998's infamous Hopwood decision, which the Supremes basically overruled in deciding the Michigan case -- would implement "modest consideration of race," but will not return to the practice of putting minority applicants on separate admissions tracks.

As evidence of the lack of "critical mass" of minority students, UT-Austin presented the following statistics from a study of fall 2002 enrollments:

52% of classes had no African-Americans and 79% had one or none;

12% had no Hispanics and 30% had one or none;

16% had no Asian-Americans and 33% had one or none;

1% had no whites and 1% had one or none.

In smaller classes (less than 25 students), the diversity numbers were, naturally, even worse:

65% had no African-Americans and 90% had one or none;

18% had no Hispanics and 43% had one or none;

23% had no Asian-Americans and 46% had one or none;

1% had no whites and 2% had one or none.

Said UT-Austin President Larry R. Faulkner, "The proposal to include race among the many factors in admission is central to this university's primary mission of educating leaders for the future. Students here are currently in a less-than-realistic environment. To prepare future leaders adequately, the university must include and educate a critical mass of students from historically underrepresented segments of the Texas population."

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

  • More of the Story

  • Naked City

    Headlines and happenings from Austin and beyond

    Naked City

    Once again, only Mayor Will Wynn votes no.

    Naked City

    Local flavor triumphs -- maybe -- in the airport concession battle.

    Naked City

    The taxi co-op's bid for a franchise comes at "the worst possible time."
  • Naked City

    The GOP moderate will leave the Texas Senate after 15 years.

    Naked City

    The State Board of Education may undo "alternative certification" after all.

    Naked City

    The winner of the district's union election is a foregone conclusion

    Naked City

    The Zoning and Platting Commission postpones -- into possible oblivion -- a clutch of historic cases.

    Naked City

    It's not a pretty picture, says a new Texans for Public Justice report

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Affirmative Action
Affirming Diversity in College Admissions
Affirming Diversity in College Admissions
Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

Richard Whittaker, July 1, 2016

Naked City
Naked City
Texas A&M's racial legacy

Michael King, Jan. 16, 2004

More by Lee Nichols
From the Music Desk
From the Music Desk
On Willie, Billy, Stevie Ray, Blaze, and more highlights from four decades of covering Austin music

Sept. 3, 2021

Game Changer
Game Changer
A new football culture for Austin bars

Oct. 23, 2015


University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas System, affirmative action, race, ethnicity, admissions, University of Michigan, Top Ten Percent plan, Hopwood, Larry R. Faulkner

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle