Higher education is one area where the Supreme Court has been the most tolerant about race being considered in some way, shape or form in selecting one person over another. If the court strikes down the University of Texas’ approach, employers’ voluntary affirmative action and diversity programs may be more open to race discrimination challenges.
Employers have learned that a diverse workforce results in benefits for most businesses. Employers prefer to recruit from colleges/universities with diverse student bodies. Many feel that achieving diversity on campus satisfies the goals of better employment opportunities for all students and directly meets businesses’ demand for well-qualified and diverse workers. As stated in a few other BLOG’s, the importance of diversity to success in business is supported by multiple studies showing that a diverse workforce provides significant business benefits. Specifically, increasing racial diversity in the workplace increases sales revenue, increases the number of customers, increases market share and, ultimately, increases profits….
So, getting back to Fisher v University of Texas…the basic premise is that the University of Texas has a policy of admitting 75% of its students in the freshman class who are in the top 10% of their graduating high school class throughout the state. The remaining 25% are admitted based on factors such as leadership qualities, work experience, community service, standardized test scores and, yes, race.
Abigail Fisher, a white student, not in the top 10% of her class was denied admission in 2008…she decided to bring a suit….challenging the university’s admission policy as unconstitutionally relying on race. The University defended its policy and stated that when it did ‘negate’ race from the picture, the number of minorities admitted during that time dropped.
Many liberals state that Amanda Fisher would not have been accepted into the University of Texas….no matter what….her grades were not good enough, she did not excel nor participate in any sports and she was not considered a class or school ‘leader’ by any stretch of the imagination…..however, as conservatives point out….none of those issues matter….it is not enough to say that she would not have gotten into the University when there is a racial criteria that is being considered….
When I read that Justice Alito makes a comment such as “There are those that contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to get into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school, where they will do well.”….I want to cringe/shudder/hide….I cannot believe that there are still ‘educated’ Americans that make comments such as those….
I think of my daughter’s high school English Teacher who told my daughter that she should consider applying to a school with ‘lessor’ credentials than aiming for Columbia University….which happens to be my daughter’s alma mater….to say that I had a visit with the hierarchy of this prestigious private school is an ‘understatement’….or possibly denying my niece entry into a Pennsylvania State college because her high school grades were sub-standard and her extra-curricular activities…..from an organizational perspective, were non-existent. My niece was accepted into the summer program and proceeded to make Dean’s List each/every semester….she has been employed by a major Philadelphia hospital and is presently working on her Masters in Nursing at an Ivy League University….so, let’s not be too hasty to state that activity in high school is indicative of futuristic performances……
There is very little indication as to how the Supreme Court will rule on this….it is a touchy subject….my recommendation would be to have the University of Texas eliminate the entire 10% rule and accept everyone based on a combination of grades, leadership, team skills, diversity, etc…..or just try to insure that everyone that has a dream is given ample opportunities to fulfill those dreams…..
If you have any questions regarding diversity in the workplace, please contact Rosanne Bennett at 484-947-7063 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.