Affirmative Brief Mireles and Reyna: IDEA Quest
IDEA Quest College Preparatory
Table of Cited Authorities
Hope, Joan. “Data Show Persistence, Retention Improve Nationwide.” Enrollment Management Report
19.5 (2015): 8. Web. 18 Jan. 2016.
“Fall Enrollment at The University of Texas at Austin Reflects Continuing Trend Toward More Diverse
Student Population.” UT News The University of Texas at Austin . UT News, 18 Sept. 2008.
“A Colorblind Constitution: What Abigail Fisher’s Affirmative Action Case Is Really About.” Top
Stories. RSS .N.p., 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 16 Jan. 2016
“Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.” Oyez. ChicagoKent
College of Law at Illinois
Tech, n.d. Jan 17, 2016. < https://www.oyez.org/cases/1979/76811
“Grutter v. Bollinger.” Oyez. ChicagoKent
College of Law at Illinois Tech, n.d. Jan 17, 2016.
Wernz, Jackie. “The Impact of Fisher v. Texas on RaceConscious
Assignment Decisions in K12
Schools.” Legal Insights for School Leaders . Education Law Insights, 1 July 2013. Web. 18
“Demographic Information.” Governor’s Budget Summary 20142015.
N.p.: n.p., 2015. N. pag. Print.
Perez, Erica. “Despite Diversity Efforts, UC Minority Enrollment down since Prop. 209.” California
Watch. Center for Investigative Reporting, 24 Feb. 2012. Web. 31 Jan. 2016.
“California Affirmative Action, Proposition 209 (1996) Ballotpedia.”
California Affirmative Action,
Proposition 209 (1996) Ballotpedia.
N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Jan. 2016.
“The State of Higher Education in California.” (2015): n. pag. The Campaign for College Opportunity,
Apr. 2015. Web.
Statement of Facts
In 2008, caucasian Abigail Fisher applied to the University of Texas at Austin and was denied
acceptance. After having been rejected, Fisher represented herself, as well as numerous other caucasians,
in testifying that she was not equally viewed in the application process, thus evoking the question: Does
the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment permit the consideration of race in an undergraduate
The holistic approach of University of Texas at Austin has caused significant controversy due to
the fact that its admissions office considers race as part of the “Academic Index/Personal Achievement
Index” (AI/PAI) score of applying students who do not meet the qualifications of automatic acceptance
through the “Top 10%” Texas law (HB 588) which constituted for approximately 81% of admitted
freshmen for the Fall 2008 class. UT’s model, while established to diversify the student body, is being
widely condemned by Americans arguing that its methods violate the Equal Protection Clause of 1868.
However, advocates of UT’s methods argue that the consideration of race promotes diversity amongst the
State University over a less preferable homogeneous student body and is vital in stimulating educational
propositions. This controversial issue is certainly one in which my partner and I were obliged to scrutinize
all aspects of, and, having done so, we contend with the University of Texas at Austin. The University of
Texas at Austin should be permitted to use race as a decisive factor in their application process
because it does not infringe on the rights of any U.S. citizen.
Statement of Argument
Abigail Fisher Did Not Meet the Requirements of UT
Being rejected from the 16th listed top public university in the nation, with an acceptance rate of
39.7%, is something a vast portion of prospective college students have experienced, throughout the state,
throughout the nation, and throughout the world. Abigail Fisher contends that she was not equally viewed
in the admissions process merely because of her race, she is however incapable of proving so. She lacks
any verification on her behalf, thus my partner and I maintain the position that she was equally viewed in
all aspects, and being rejected was solely based on her incompatibility as an ideal student of the
University of Texas at Austin.
The process in which UT Austin evaluates any submitted application is a holistic approach,
regardless of race or any other predominant factor. This means that socioeconomics, gender, the rigor of
taken classes, standardized test scores, essays, anything that has the potential of aiding an eager student in
attending the university, is looked at and compared with other prospective students.
Taking a look at Fisher’s grade point average (Huffington Post), she had a GPA of 3.59 (on a 4.0
scale); the standard GPA for UT is a 3.71, already putting Fisher at a disadvantage just through the
University’s mere consideration of a student’s GPA. More so, her SAT score was an 1180 (measured on
the former 1600point
scale), which were good but not sufficient in meeting the standards of the highly
selective flagship university.These two aspects of Fisher’s admission would have already placed her
amongst the 25th percentile of applying students, meaning that, in order for her to have been accepted,
other factors in her application would have had to have been protrude.
A major flaw in Abigail Fisher’s testimony is her failure to recognize and provide a rationale for
the 42 of 47 caucasian students who were admitted despite having lower AI/PAI scores than she did. On
the other end, UT Austin rejected 168 Latino and African American students with equal or better scores
than Fisher (Propublica).
If race is as determinate a factor as Fisher presumes it to be, then UT Austin should be looked at
not for its number of admitted minority groups, but rather for the number of caucasians admitted each
year. The University population in 2008, according to UT News, was 50,006; of these 50,006 students,
caucasians constituted for 27,234, over half of the entirety of the population. Caucasians currently account
for 45.1% of UT’s population, meaning that although the population of whites has dropped in the
university, it is no drastic number in which any individual should concern themselves with. Whites remain
the majority race, and are only followed by Hispanics who constitute for 19.5% of UT’s population. The
assumption that UT is prejudice towards whites in the application process, should be widely dismissed
because statistics and individual cases alone have proven this to be a false assertion.
How the University of Texas at Austin Meets Standards Set by Preceding Cases
The special program ran by Davis Medical School was found to have operated as a racial quota
because minority applicants in that program were rated only against one another rather than the entirety of
applicants. Sixteen places in a class of 100 were specifically reserved for applicants coming from this
special admissions program. This was the set quota that ceased the court case, causing them to rule in
favor of Bakke. The University of Texas at Austin does not operate in this manner; rather than reserving a
number of spots or claiming some percentage of their students in which they aspire to have represent
minority groups, UT has a narrowly tailored goal set to achieve diversity while maintaining the absence of
a set quota. This is very similar to the final decision in the 2003 Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger
which upheld that “the Equal Protection Clause does not prohibit the Law School’s narrowly tailored use
of race in admissions decisions to further a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that
flow from a diverse student body.”
The 1978, the case of Regents of the University of California v. Bakke set the standards that all
universities were meant to follow in order to avoid any claims of having violated the Equal Protection
Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In an 81
decision for Bakke, justices of this court contended that
any racial quota system supported by government violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964. To presume that
UT Austin maintained any system similar to that of Davis Medical School of the University of California
would be considerably erroneous for numerous reasons. First of all, each applicant of UT is holistically
evaluated, there are no special admissions programs specifically targeted for disadvantaged minority
groups. There is no cutoff GPA for certain students and none for others; each student’s application is
viewed in its entirety. There are an abundance of other factors that distinguish UT’s admissions process
from Davis Medical School’s, but what remains vital is the consideration of the status quota system that
justices claimed to have violated the Fourteenth Amendment; this is what UT Austin does not implement.
In her case, the plaintiff contends that UT Austin does not have a narrowly tailored goal,
something that has been demanded of all State Universities that consider race in their admissions process
following the Regents of the University of Cali v. Bakke court case. Her rationale behind this is that
“ because the Top Ten Percent program allowed automatic admissions to UT for diverse students at the
top of their high school classes” there is no further need to use race as a determinative factor in the
standard application process. However, the top 10% plan has not accomplished diversity as it was
intended to, as we see that whites constitute for a profound amount of UT’s population (54.5% of the
population in 2008 and 45% in present day). In addition to this, the 10% Plan has been drastically altered;
it now accepts only the top 7% of high school graduates, making it evermore strenuous and rigorous for
students of any race to be admitted through this process. Yet, we expect this to suffice; we expect
diversity to be achieved merely through the Top 10% Plan. Yes, this plan did account for 81% of admitted
freshmen in 2008, but since then it has shrunken to account for 70% of the 2015 admitted freshmen. And
of these newly admitted freshmen, whites remain the predominant race that form the 70% of admitted
freshmen of 2015. There is only the slightest chance of racial assimilation remaining present in The
University of Texas at Austin if the university relies only on the Top 10% Plan to accomplish this.
Moreover, as aforementioned, UT Austin follows the regulations set by the decision in Grutter vs.
Bollinger, 2003. UT’s consideration of race in its admission process has been defamed as a violation of
the Equal Protection Clause, which upholds that no state shall “deny to any person within its jurisdiction
the equal protection of the laws.” In this case, it is argued that because UT Austin is allowing race to be a
factor, those who do not benefit from such process primarily
caucasians and Asiansare
viewed equally because race as a factor grants minority applicants more acclaim for equal if not lesser
academic achievements. What again fails to be recognized by the plaintiff’s side, however, is that this
very issue was addressed in Grutter vs. Bollinger when, in 1997, Barbara Grutter was denied admission
into the University of Michigan Law School. Bollinger contested that racial preferences in a student body
violated the Equal Protection Clause. Yet, in a 54
decision, the Fifth Circuit held that because Michigan
Law School implemented a narrowly tailored goalwhich
was the use of race in the admission processto
achieve a more diverse student body, the Equal Protection Clause was not violated. This decision has
become the cornerstone of UT’s admission process, which, in striving for a more diverse student body,
complies with the additional grounds established by Grutter vs. Bollinger: Because there is a state
compelling interest in creating educational benefits, and because there is an application of strict scrutiny,
the use of race in the admission process as a mean to increase the critical mass of minority studentbodies
is, by law, acceptable and just.
Why Race Is Such a Determinative Factor
Proposition 209, also known as the California Civil Rights Initiative, became the first enacted
legislation to contest affirmative action policies. Since its passing in November 5, 1996, many supporters
of the bill have contested that graduation rates for minorities in California’s higherlearning
have increased because of said legislation. However, mere growth in graduation rates, while an indicator
of relative university success, cannot be attributed to a bill that limits the enrollment opportunity of
minorities. In fact, while graduation rates have increased among all racial masses in California schools,
minority enrollment has dropped significantly. Within the first three years of the passing of Proposition
209, the number of admitted AfricanAmerican,
Latino and American Indian undergraduates decreased by
58%. Within the following decade, minority enrollment has increased although marginally and
unimpressively. This issue has been combated in 1996 and 2010 to no avail. More recently, this issue
allowed Gibor Basri, outgoing vice chancellor for equity and inclusion of UC Berkeley, to aid in the
creation of the “AfricanAmerican
Initiative.” As of today, AfricanAmerican
enrollment in UC Berkeley
accounts for 3% of the student population.
Minority enrollment in California colleges has shown a deteriorating increase since 1998 which is
discouraging since the Hispanic population in California has surpassed the commonplace majority of
white residents throughout the nation. Unsurprisingly, little effort to institute ethnic integration in
university bodies has resulted in a widening composite of Hispanics who are receiving fewer educational
opportunities because of the disappearance of systems such as an admissions process that considers race.
According to The Campaign for College Opportunity, “fewer than two in ten workingage
have a college degree.” This reality is accounted by the worsening oppositions Hispanics and other
minorities are progressively facing. Since its enactment, the “average total tuition and fees at UC, CSU,
and CCC increased by approximately 150 percent since 200304”
Even with the growing, average college
tuition fees, California’s appropriations has decreased from an average $9,220 in 2003 to $7,303 in 2013.
Such barriers have only have deterred the expected educational advancement that was suspected to result
from Proposition 209. With growing fees, lower minority enrollment and a widening educational gap
correlated to socioeconomic status, California is unintentionally cultivating a state where Hispanics
constitute the majority of the population yet are one of the most underrepresented in terms of higher
education, a crisis no state, not even Texas, could afford.
We pray that you overturn the 71
decision for Abigail Fisher. Not only did she fail to meet the
norm GPA and standardized test scores set by UT Austin, but a substantial amount of fellow caucasians
were admitted while having a lower AI/PAI score. Meanwhile, numerous members of minority groups
were denied admissions despite having a higher AI/PAI score than the plaintiff. We maintain the need for
the incorporation of affirmative action in assuring that individuals raised in lowincome,
communities are fostered in their aspirations to excel, thus bringing innovation to their hometown, and
essentially bettering the nation as a whole. Fisher was denied on the basis of valid rationale, and in no
way should the University of Texas at Austin, or the millions of Americans deriving from minority
groups, face the repercussions the court will uphold if it continues to fail in distinguishing the justice done
by UT in its use of race as a factor in the admissions process