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Supreme Court Upholds UT Austin Admissions Policy

photo of Gregory J. Vincent
Dr. Gregory J. Vincent gives statement in front of Supreme Court on Wed. June 23, 2016.

The Supreme Court upheld The University of Texas at Austin admissions policy in a 4-3 decision  that was released June 23. Justice Anthony Kennedy delivered the opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor. Justice Elena Kagan was recused from the case.

The case was first filed in 2008 after plaintiff Abigail Fisher was denied admission to UT Austin. She alleged the University’s use of race as a consideration in its holistic admissions process was in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

photo of Gregory J. Vincent
Dr. Gregory J. Vincent gives statement in front of Supreme Court on Wed. June 23, 2016.

Though Kennedy wrote that “the University articulated concrete and precise goals. . . that mirror the compelling interest this Court has approved in prior cases” and gave a “reasoned, principled explanation for its decision,” he concluded, “The Court’s affirmance of the University’s admissions policy today does not necessarily mean the University may rely on that same policy without refinement. It is the University’s ongoing obligation to engage in constant deliberation and continued reflection regarding its admissions policy.”

UT Austin President Gregory L. Fenves released the following statement:

This morning, the United States Supreme Court ruled in our favor in the case of Fisher v. The University of Texas at Austin, affirming the university’s right to continue using race and ethnicity as one factor in our holistic admissions process.

I am thrilled and gratified by today’s ruling that recognizes the constitutionality of the university’s admissions policy. The court has affirmed UT’s efforts to develop a diverse student body that brings with it educational benefits for all students. Our pursuit of excellence is grounded in the university’s public mission to provide the highest quality education for every student. Diversity is essential to carry out that mission. The educational benefits of diversity for all students enhance The University of Texas at Austin, the higher education community, and the nation.

As I said when the Supreme Court reviewed this case last December, race continues to matter in American life. It affects individuals and communities. We must make sure all of our students are able to excel in the wider world when they leave campus — educating them in an environment as diverse as the United States is one of the most effective ways to do so.”

Watch video statement of Dr. Gregory Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement regarding Fisher decision.