As Court Hears Admissions Case, UT Has a Backup Plan
By Carlos Morales
Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case about the University of Texas at Austin’s use of race in admissions. The case had sparked many questions, such as what the university will do if its admissions process is ruled unconstitutional.
If that happens, UT officials say they have a plan. “We’ll go back to the top 10 percent, we’ll go back to what we were doing during Hopwood,” said Gregory Vincent, UT’s vice president for diversity and community engagement. “Whereas that did increase our diversity, it still does not give us the ability to shape the class we prefer.”
Hopwood was a court case decided in 1996 that barred the use of race in admissions. It was overturned in 2003. Under Hopwood, the university began the top 10 percent rule. That automatically admits students graduating near the top of their class.
Right now, UT admits 75 percent of its first-year students under that rule – essentially the top 8 percent of high school classes. Officials say the rest are admitted through a holistic evaluation that considers race. A decision from the Supreme Court on whether that is constitutional is expected in the spring.