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Affirmative action case had no leg to stand on

Christina Sanders

 

On Monday, June 24, the United States Supreme Court handed down a 7-1 ruling that left both sides of the much-debated affirmative action case Fisher v. University of Texas-Austin claiming victory. The justices ruled to “vacate and remand” the case, sending it back to the U.S. Court of Appeals.


The decision upholds the Supreme Court’s previous ruling in a similar case against the University of Michigan School of Law (Bollinger v. Grutter).

In 2003 the Supreme Court heard a case that questioned the University of Michigan School of Law's admissions process. A denied applicant alleged that the reason for her failure to be accepted into the law school was because the admissions process denied qualified white applicants admittance in order to make room for applicants from certain minority groups.

In a 5-4 decision the justices ruled that a “race-conscious admissions process that may favor underrepresented minority groups, as long as many factors were taken into account and evaluated on an individual basis for every applicant, did not amount to a quota system,” therefore making the university’s admissions process constitutional.

Those in favor of affirmative action were pleased with Monday’s decision because they felt it upheld the affirmative action policies put in place to eliminate all forms of discrimination in the academic sector and the workplace.

Those opposed to affirmative action were in favor of the decision because it allows for them to go back to the drawing board, so to speak, and gather more evidence to eventually advocate for change in legislation.

The recent case, is one of a twenty-something-year-old woman from Texas named Abigail Noel Fisher. Her case is against the University of Texas-Austin, the most identifiable university in the Texas university system.

Fisher decided that she has been discriminated against because of her race.

Ms. Fisher alleges that, because of the nations’ “outdated” affirmative action laws, she was not granted an acceptance letter from the University of Texas-Austin.

According to her Supreme Court case claim and tour around the media outlets of America, if it wasn’t for the University of Texas-Austin accepting under-qualified minorities – a fact that she cannot prove – she would have been yelling “go Longhorns” at football games with pocketbook emptying tuition affiliation.

But because of the university’s admissions process that takes race into consideration, she is forced to only be a fan with no real university affiliation.

Solid thought, except for the fact that it makes no sense whatsoever.

It’s discouraging to think about how an issue as important as affirmative action has been reduced to a disgruntled, baseless, finger-pointing complaint.

The Fisher v. University of Texas-Austin case is essentially a temper tantrum on steroids. Let’s take the time to examine the baselessness of her case.

Her assumption is that all African-Americans and Hispanics who enter into higher education institutions are not qualified to do so.

Contrary to popular belief, most African-Americans and Hispanics who choose to apply to institutions of higher education are more than qualified to apply to the respective institutions.

Why?

Because they’re a minority.

For the most part when minorities apply to any position, be it academic or professional, they do so over-exceeding the minimum qualifications because they assume that they have to because of their race, gender or sexual orientation.

Everyone knows we live in a country in which many still hold prejudices and unconscious bias to this very day, in spite of the celebrated progress that we have made.

From the public universities to the Ivy League, every student, regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation, has demonstrated via their application that they have the aptitude and the potential to be offered admittance to that institution.

It’s disrespectful to present a case criticizing students who applied the same way as she and paid the same application fee as she. If she didn’t possess the skillset that the university was looking for or presented a compelling enough case for herself that stuck out to the admissions committee, then that’s the end. People get rejected from colleges all the time.

In addition to being disrespectful to the students who received offer letters, she is completely insulting the University of Texas-Austin admissions committee.

These are people who hold master’s degrees and years of experience and she’s telling them that they make arbitrary decisions, passing through every student who checks the “colored” box.

“I dreamt of going to UT [the University of Texas] ever since the second grade,” Fisher said on CNN. “My dad went there, my sister went there, and tons of friends and family. And it was a tradition I wanted to continue.”

This statement here is not a case against affirmative action. This is a case of a disgruntled applicant.

The Texas university system has a policy that rewards students of high academic achievement, regardless of their race, gender, socioeconomic status or sexual orientation.

The facts are that, although she may have been a student of high academic achievement, her top 12 percent is not the 10 percent standards.

Her standardized test scores were not similar to the incoming student profile. She needs to understand and accept those facts.

She and other denied applicants of all races need to understand that affirmative action is not a policy that is used to accept minority applicants over just-as-qualified or more than qualified white applicants.

After years of senseless racial discrimination, affirmative action policies are in place to insure that all applicants are evaluated based on their skills and qualifications for the position in which they are applying without disqualification based upon race or other discriminatory factors.

Even the most qualified applicant, regardless of racial background, has a chance of being denied simply because of the high volume of applications received by institutions such as the University of Texas-Austin and University of Michigan School of Law.

An applicant must understand that they are in competition with applicants who have the same credentials as themselves.

Not all can be accepted.

Just because one fits or exceeds a university’s previous years’ incoming student profile does not mean that applicant has guaranteed admittance to that university.

Unless the admissions committee sent either one of those ladies a personalized letter stating, “We regret to inform you that although you meet and exceed all the qualifications of the program to which you are applying, we have chosen to move forward with applicants of qualified racial backgrounds without consideration of their other credentials, in order to meet our racial number goals,” then her allegation can’t be proven.

The supreme court made the correct decision to send the case back to a lower court, allowing for the party in opposition of the affirmative action policies set in place to gather more evidence to prove actual discrimination had taken place.