The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) applauds the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal’s July 15 decision, finding that the University of Texas-Austin’s affirmative action program is legal and satisfies constitutional scrutiny in Fisher v. UT-Austin.
Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court reiterated the value of diversity in higher education while remanding Fisher to the 5th Circuit to apply the correct standard of review. AALDEF, along with Asian American and Pacific Islander youth groups and university officials, filed amicus briefs urging the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals to uphold UT-Austin’s admissions policy.
“The 5th Circuit has confirmed the continuing relevance of race as an important element of individual identity, and reiterated that UT-Austin may consider race as one of many factors to admit the best qualified, most well-balanced class,” said Khin Mai Aung, Director of AALDEF’s Educational Equity Program.
The 5th Circuit found that the benefits of diversity flow from each individual’s personal contribution–of which his or her racial identity is an element–rather than from the mere presence of a sufficient group of minorities at an institution. In the court’s words, “To deny UT Austin its limited use of race in its search for holistic diversity would hobble the richness of the educational experience in contradiction of the plain teachings of Bakke and Grutter.”
Moving forward, Asian Americans, like all students, will continue to benefit from application processes at UT and other institutions that consider all of each candidate’s defining qualities, including race and other personal factors such as home language, class, and parental education.
For more information, contact:
Khin Mai Aung, Director, Educational Equity Program