The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday (June 23) that it is constitutional for the University of Texas at Austin to consider race in its admissions process. The Court ruled three years ago that diversity was a worthwhile goal for the university, but appointed an appeals court to review whether affirmative action was the best method to achieve it. Turns out, affirmative action, which is always on the legal chopping block, gets to live another day.
At the center of the case was Abigail Fisher, who sued the university when she was not offered a spot in the freshman class of 2008. You may remember her from last year's #StayMadAbby hashtag.
According to an enrollment report, about 81% of the entering freshman students from Texas high schools were admitted under HB 588, also known as the Top 10 Percent Law. It guarantees admission for students in roughly the top 10% of the graduating class of any Texas high school. The issue comes in with filling the remaining slots in an admissions class — for this, the university considers other factors, including race.
Fisher, who is from Sugar Land, Texas, graduated from high school with a 3.59 GPA and scored a 1180 out of 1600 on her SAT. She did not finish in the top 10% of her high school class, and therefore had to compete for the 841 spots left for non top-tier students. So naturally, she assumed that although she didn't make the cut, people of color were the reason she didn't get one of the leftover seats, either. Twitter summed it all up perfectly: