Picture: Eric Gray | AP
Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin has been all over the news for the last few days. The University has gone through a coordinated PR campaign to defend its race-conscious admissions practices. I am not going to belabor the facts on the case. Plenty of news articles, editorials, and social media statuses have already done justice to the facts. I want to take a different route, step back, and examine the underlying hypocrisy of this whole ordeal, and that is race-conscious admission, no matter how we sugarcoat it, is inherently racist.
UT admits a vast majority of its students through the Top 10 Percent Rule. The remaining proportion, about one quarter of each freshman class, is admitted using a holistic process that, among many things, includes race as a factor for determining admission. It is found that the Top 10 Percent Rule has been more effective in ensuring diversity on campus. Greater proportion of minority students gain entrance to UT through the Top 10 rule. The race-neutral rule allows for Texas’s most brightest students to come to a top public university from all corners of the state. It already accomplishes the University’s desire for a diverse campus. Why the need for another set of rules that goes out of its way to take race into account? Doesn’t that in turn judges applicants at least partly on the basis of their skin tone? True, Abigail Fisher probably wouldn’t have gotten into UT anyway under either the Top 10 or the holistic review process, but that’s not the point. The point is that the University’s continuance to use race as part of its admissions process unnecessarily hinders the progress made in the last several decades toward greater racial integration and minority access to higher education. I believe high school graduates of all races and backgrounds should have a shot of attending the University of Texas, provided that they compete equally on controllable factors, such as grades, extracurricular activities, community service, work experience, personal essays, etc., out of which race is not and should not be a factor for admission, for it can not be fairly applied.