We’ve all seen it. College applications we apply for or the surveys we take, what is your race or ethnicity? For most, we indicate what we biologically are. Asian, Latino, Caucasian, African-American, Pacific Islander, or Native American. The “other” category is what I’ve been impressed with the most. Being a communication major, I had to do research on intercultural communication between parent and child. We created a survey and asked what ethnicity our survey takers were, since it was relevant. I remember that our results with what came up with the “other” category was very interesting. Many people indicated “human,” “person,” or even “why does it matter?” This brings me back to the issue I am presenting today about the Fisher Vs. University of Texas. See link (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/us/supreme-court-to-hear-case-on-affirmative-action.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&).
Abigail Fisher’s first choice when applying for college was the University of Texas. She had a decent SAT score, played soccer for her high school, played cello, and a myriad of volunteering and extra curricular activities. She sounds like an ideal student to want to attend her top-choice university. In 2008, University of Texas has also implemented a program where they accept students that are in the 10% percentile of their graduating class regardless of race. About 80% of the freshman incoming class were admitted under the Top Ten Percent Plan. The catch? Fisher was denied to the University of Texas.
Fisher Vs. University of Texas (http://campusprogress.org/articles/three_takeaways_from_the_fisher_v._university_of_texas_arguments/)
Fisher had felt that her race was a part of the reason of her denial. Fisher decided to take the issue of Affirmative Action to the Supreme Court with the case of why race should be a determining factor for a student’s college application. University of Texas commented to Fisher’s actions saying that her race was not a factor towards her application. The loophole that colleges have is that they are entitled to construct their student body based on the institutions core beliefs. Having that construction of a diverse student body enables students to interact with each other more and to have minority students feel that they are not underrepresented or tokenized.
What Does the College Say?
College officials declare that this can assist with breaking down stereotypes and forging an identity of an accepting diverse institution. Interesting enough, the article also discussed that much of race is not the factor of one decision, but rather a holistic profile. It is also stated that there is no connection between race and a student’s range of views when it comes to the classroom. Fisher also stated that there shouldn’t need to be a race box on the college applications.
My first thoughts about the Fisher Vs. University of Texas issue was that this very much applies in other races as well. For example, being Asian, I have felt much stereotype about how Asians often are graded harder or have higher standards that must be met based on our ethnicity. While I feel that we should not have a race box on applications and just evaluate students based on their performance, how are we able to construct a diverse student body? Perhaps it should be that we shouldn’t have a quota to fill. What are your thoughts about Affirmative Action? How can students as well as colleges change the dynamics of a college application so that everyone has an equal opportunity? Will there ever be a time when race is not the issue and does not determine one’s future towards higher education?
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