Robert Schmad, Campus Reform
- Students for Fair Admissions is suing the University of Texas at Austin over what it believes is an unconstitutional admissions policy.
- SFFA is representing two white students who claim they were denied admission to UT-Austin because of their race.
The University of Texas-Austin is being sued for allegedly discriminating against white students.
The Austin American Statesman reported that Students for Fair Admissions had filed a new lawsuit against the University of Texas-Austin on behalf of two students who claim that they were denied admission on account of being white, which the organization claims is in violation of Texas as well as federal law, and inconsistent with Supreme Court precedent. You can read the full 61-page complaint here.
According to its website, Students for Fair Admissions is “a nonprofit membership group of more than 20,000 students, parents, and others who believe that racial classifications and preferences in college admissions are unfair, unnecessary, and unconstitutional.” SFFA has been involved in a number of high profile suits regarding affirmative action including those against Harvard, UNC-Chapel Hill as well as a previous suit against UT-Austin.
The prior case brought against UT-Austin by SFFA, Fisher v. University of Texas, made it to the Supreme Court where a landmark decision upheld the university’s right to apply racial preferences in admissions under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment.
This, however, doesn’t “give the University of Texas a blank check to use race-based preferences in perpetuity” according to SFFA.
When approached for comment by Campus Reform Edward Blum, president of SFFA, said the new lawsuit “alleges that UT is not complying with the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence as it was articulated in Fisher v. UT and Grutter v. Bollinger and that “the allegations are similar to our lawsuits against Harvard and UNC.”
On its webpage summarizing the details of the case, Students for Fair Admission cites language from the Fisher decision that they believe the university has not complied with. Specifically, it quotes the Supreme Court’s opinion as stating that the university has an “ongoing obligation to engage in constant deliberation and continued reflection regarding its admissions policies” and must actively determine if “changing demographics have undermined the need for a race-conscious policy.”
SFFA asserted that the University of Texas “has failed its obligation to reexamine its policies” in accordance with court precedent. The group has stated that “things in Texas have changed dramatically since 2008 when Ms. Fisher filed her lawsuit. In 2008, the majority of those admitted to UT-Austin were white. By 2018, however, barely a third of those admitted to UT-Austin were white.”
Though its first case against UT-Austin may have resulted in what they view as an unfavorable verdict, SFFA appears confident in its new approach. The increasingly conservative 5th Circuit of appeal courts as well as the addition of Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court could help their case as well.
When approached for comment regarding whether the University of Texas system believes this case is substantially different from other cases in the same area, UT spokesperson J.B. Bird told Campus Reform “the university is reviewing the new lawsuit from SFFA. We agreed with the judge’s decision to dismiss SFFA’s previous lawsuit and we remain confident in the lawfulness and constitutionality of UT Austin’s holistic admissions policy, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2016.”
Campus Reform also asked about UT’s philosophical justification for race-based admissions, to which Bird replied, “the Supreme Court decision in the Fisher case affirmed UT’s efforts to develop a diverse student body that brings with it educational benefits for all students. The university believes diversity is essential to carry out its public mission and that the educational benefits of diversity for all students enhance UT Austin, the higher education community, and the nation.”
In his statement to Campus Reform, Blum asserted that “a student’s race should not be used to help nor harm his chances of acceptance to any university in the nation.”
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