Assignment-Consideration Of Race Of Applicants In Public University US


Added on  2019-09-30

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In this assignment we analyze the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United States filed inthe matter of consideration of race of applicants for admission to public university. Thepetitioner,[ CITATION Abi16 \l 1033 ], a Caucasian was not granted admission for anundergraduate admission by the University of Texas. The Petitioner has has challenged thedecision of the University under the provisions of the Equal Protection Clause of theFourteenth Amendment, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Title VI of the Civil RightsAct of 1964. The Petitioner having not got admission under the top 10% of her high schoolclass, applied for admission for the 25% of the other seats. She filed a suit against theRespondent University claiming that she was denied admission on basis of her race, as a partof its holistic review process of the applicants.The Petitioner therefore claims that it amounts to violation of Equal Protection Clause underthe Fourteenth Amendment. She further contended that the admission policy of a publicuniversity cannot be reviewed under strict scrutiny rules as laid down by the courts in Grutterv Bollinger,[ CITATION 53906 \l 1033 ] and Gratz v Bollinger[ CITATION 24403 \l 1033 ].Theuniversity, on the other hand, contended that, its admission process is loosely based on theruling of the court in Grutter, and therefore, was of the opinion that the holistic process ofadmission aims at securing greater diversity of the student body in the university.Reason why I chose this case One of the main reasons for choosing this case is that it is one of the recent most, albeit,landmark judgements given by the Supreme Court concerning the university guidelines andadmission policies with regard to racial demographics in the schools and university. Theimportance of racial diversity, the long term benefits of holistic admission scheme has clearlybeen highlighted in this case. Similarly, as a student, it is important to understand that theadmission decisions are not based only on individual performance and aptitude, but a holisticadmission scheme where race is also considered as one of the key factors in grantingadmission. The decision by the Supreme Court has been a landmark one, no doubt. But has been athought provoking one, since the court reiterated that diversity is an important element ofuniversity admissions and also our society at large. Although the theory surrounding equalopportunities for all can only be prophesised, an education system which does not supportracial majority can help in bridging up the gap of disparities caused due to race and ethnicityof an individual. This case is among the few to have drawn huge public attention andresponse before the Court, and therefore involve a number of issues and opinions. Issues, applicability, history and practical implications for practitioners or policymakersThe issue here is whether the public university violates the equal protection clause of thefourteenth Amendment, when it considers the race in the admission procedure forundergraduate course? Secondly, whether the university admission procedure upholds the standard of good faith? Whether the petitioner has shown that she was denied equal treatment at the time when herapplication was rejected?

The opinion given in this case has a direct bearing to the public issue and contemporaryissues. The racial classifications made by the university, though on the face of it appears to bediscriminatory and arbitrary, when adopted in good faith can prove to be beneficial in thechanging circumstances. While racial discrimination is widely conceived to be a black/whitedivide, the case of Fisher is evident to prove the various preferences given to individuals withSpanish speaking heritage and other races as well. The opinion the court in stating that the“low numbers” of unrepresented minority students yielded by the holistic review was theprocess’s strength and not weakness” (supra, 2016) has a number of practical implications,thereby reasserting the need to have a structure that encompasses representation from all theracial minorities. The case also reasserts that under the Equal Protection Clause, theuniversities must adhere to the strict scrutiny which must be narrowly tailored to meet thegovernment objectives. Secondly, the case also highlights the educational benefits of racialdiversity are of a compelling interest to the university in shaping up the society. The law pertaining to discrimination on the basis of race, colour and national origin is laiddown in the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. [ CITATION Cor15 \l 1033 ], whichexplicitly states that, no person shall “on the ground of race, colour, or national origin, beexcluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discriminationunder any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance” The history pertaining to the case involves the passing of the Texas Legislation in the year1997 requiring the University of Texas to admit the undergraduate students who ranked in thetop ten percent of their high school classes. This decision by the Texas Legislature came upin the wake of the judgement given in the case of Hopwood v Texas[ CITATION 9694 \l 1033 ],where the practice of the explicit race based admission decision of the University was heldillegal by the Appeal Court. Thereafter, the University adopted its Academic Index (AI) andPersonal Achievement Index (PAI) based on the criteria such as work experience,extracurricular activities and “special circumstances” which may include socioeconomicstatus, family status and race among various other factors. The same was implemented witheffect from the year 1997. The landmark decision in the case of Grutter v Bollinger held thatthe student body diversity is a “compelling state interest that can justify the use of race inuniversity admissions”. The rationale laid down in this case stated that the race consciousadmissions policies at public universities must be “narrowly tailored” so as to pass the strictscrutiny.[ CITATION Rod11 \l 1033 ]. The case of Fisher has opened a wave of practical implications for policy makers andpractitioners and universities in particular. The “Top Ten Percent Plan” has resulted in arising number of minority students being admitted to undergraduate schools. The case hasreiterated the fact that the general admission process is to be replaced by the PAI and AIindex which among other features takes into account the racial ethnicity and accommodatesracial diversity in undergraduate university admissions. For institutional policy makers, theeducational benefits of diversity in institutions should connect with the accompanyingeducational goals. The policy should therefore reflect better educational standards ashighlighted in the Grutter case. These include better educational and training facilities forstudents, preparation of students for workforce in a global economy, civic readiness etc. Theinstitutions, while devising such policies to encompass students belonging to diverse race,should therefore be able to connect with the broad benefits to their specific missions andeducational goals [ CITATION nap16 \l 1033 ]

Discussion on the expert commentary pertaining to the case subsequent to the opinion givenby the Supreme CourtThe decision of the appellate court has been a welcomed equivocally by student, studentbodies and leaders in general. There were a record number of amicus filings in the case indefence of the University. [ CITATION Uma16 \l 1033 ]In the words of Lyle Denniston,[ CITATION Lyl12 \l 1033 ], the decision of the court in this case has led the court to adopt itsown version of an admissions program for undergraduates, with race as a contributing thoughnot controlling factor”. The affirmative action by the Supreme Court in this case of Fisher,has seen solidarity from various factions of people including advocates, policy makers ingeneral. President Obama, praising the affirmative action of the court stated “The SupremeCourt upheld the basic notion that diversity is an important value in our society and that thiscountry should provide a high-quality education to all our young people, regardless of theirbackground,” He further added, “We are not a country that guarantees equal outcomes, butwe do strive to provide an equal shot to everybody.”[ CITATION Rob16 \l 1033 ] Although fewfactions of people felt that the decision was narrowly written, it has paved a way for a raceneutral plan wherein it was felt that the universities across the country will “ look at thisruling as a roadmap for how to constitutionally take race into account in admissions programsgoing forward” [ CITATION Ari16 \l 1033 ]Public policy issues raised by the opinion in the caseThe question of violation of the Equal Protection Clause[ CITATION Sov15 \l 1033 ] is central tothis case. Amendment 14, §1 states “no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdictionthe equal protection of laws”. The question was raised whether the student body diversity is acompelling state interest, so as to survive the strict scrutiny review. The university had toestablish that the consideration of race is necessary to further a compelling governmentinterest. Secondly, the constitutional validity of the Texas University policy of using arigorous strict scrutiny approach in the admission of students belonging to racial minoritywas under consideration. For the remaining students, the University adopted a PersonalAchievement Index, where among other criteria; race of the student will be a keyconsideration. This criterion is central to the case of Fisher. State and defend your agreement or disagreement with the outcome of the opinion and defendyour conclusion.The opinion of the court in this matter underlines the need to have a racial diverse society,which emphasizes the need to have mutual tolerance and racial diversification. This opinionrepresents the diversity rationale and explains why a university should be permitted to givepreferences to racial minority students in order to allow them to lead a mainstream Americanway of life. The plan imbibing racial diversity has a number of benefits for students inpreparing them for future in society, life and work culture. Exposure to different cultures andideas is possible by having diverse student body. Although the ruling in the present caseconcerns universities, it can also have positive implications for using “race” as a factor forjob recruitment in government and publicly held posts. However, there are certain areas which I do not agree and feel that the Petitioner should havebeen granted admission in the University. I am in agreement with the Petitioner in saying thatthe University should have set forth clearly the level of minority enrolment that wouldconstitute a critical mass.[ CITATION Sup15 \l 1033 ]. The university had already achieved the

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