UT Austin Tower lit entirely in orange to celebrate a significant athletic victory or campus-wide accolade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
New York, NY, August 13, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) filed an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold the University of Texas at Austin's (UT-Austin) race-conscious admissions policy that promotes equal opportunity and diversity for Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs), according to a press release. Eighteen AAPI education and youth-serving organizations and 52 higher education faculty and officials have joined AALDEF as amicus curiae.
"AALDEF has supported affirmative action and equal opportunity for Asian American students for over three decades," said Margaret Fung, Executive Director of AALDEF. "Race-conscious admissions policies, such as UT-Austin's, benefit Asian Americans, especially Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders from disadvantaged backgrounds. Diversity in higher education has educational benefits for all Americans."
The Supreme Court ruled that diversity in higher education is a "compelling interest" in the case Grutter v. Bollinger, so long as a race-conscious admissions policy only considers race and ethnic origin as one modest factor among many others.
AALDEF's amicus brief demonstrates that UT-Austin's individualized review of applicants is narrowly-tailored to achieve diversity. Under UT-Austin's admissions policy, the vast majority of freshmen are admitted based on GPA alone. Fisher v. UT-Austin only challenges the "individualized review" process used for the small remainder of applicants, which considers a wide variety of individual characteristics to determine each applicant's merit. These are "an applicant's culture; language; family; educational, geographic, and socioeconomic background; work, volunteer, or internship experiences; leadership experiences; special artistic or other talents, as well as race and ethnicity." Race or ethnicity can benefit any applicant.