Group Files Lawsuit Supporting White Students Who Claim They Were Unfairly Discriminated Against by the University of Texas at Austin
On July 20, 2020, a national organization filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of two white individuals who assert that the University of Texas denied them a fair opportunity to apply for admission due to their race.
In the lawsuit, Students for Fair Admissions believes that UT’s use of racial preferences in admission represents a violation of the 14th Amendment, federal civil rights law, and Texas law.
In the lawsuit, over a dozen UT officials are listed as defendants, which includes James B. Milliken, chancellor of the UT System, and Jay Hartzell, UT’s interim president.
Students for Fair Admissions boasts membership of over 20,000 members, which includes students, parents, and other individuals who view racial classifications and preferences in college admissions are unfair and unconstitutional.
The group filed a similar case back in 2018 against UT, which was recently thrown out. Additionally, the group filed a lawsuit against Harvard University administrators. In the fall of 2019, a federal judge ruled that Harvard’s race-conscious admissions policy was constitutional.
Edward Blum is the president of the organization and has long challenged affirmative action policies across the nation. Back in 2008, he provided legal assistance to UT applicant Abigail Fisher in suing the university, which concluded in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding UT’s use of race in admissions practices.
Per its most recent lawsuit against UT, the group has “at least two members” who applied to UT in 2018 and were denied admission in 2019. The applicants are enrolled in other universities in Texas and are “ready and able to apply to transfer to UT Austin when it stops discriminating against applicants on the basis of race and ethnicity.” The students’ names are not listed in the lawsuit.
Currently, the university uses an allegedly “holistic admissions process” when reviewing students. Race is factored into that equation.
The group laid out a 61-page complaint where it explained why the current admissions system is unfair and why the court should stop it. In a statement, Blum declared that UT failed to comply with its obligation in the aftermath of the 2016 Fisher ruling to continue to investigate the use of race when deciding its admissions.
“The Supreme Court did not give the University of Texas a blank check to use race-based preferences in perpetuity, and the university has failed its obligation to reexamine its policies,” Blum declared.
In addition, the group is looking to acquire a permanent injunction preventing UT leaders from using race as an admissions criterion for future undergraduate applicants.
UT spokesman J.B. Bird said that the new lawsuit is under review.
“We agreed with the judge’s decision to dismiss SFFA’s previous lawsuit, and we remain confident in the lawfulness and constitutionality of UT Austin’s holistic admissions policy, which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld in 2016,” Bird commented in a statement.
The lawsuit sprang about a week after the university rolled out a list of initiatives with the purpose of recruiting, supporting, and retaining non-white students. UT intends to bolster its outreach to underrepresented students across Texas, and reorient its Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan, which lays out strategies to improve the educational environment for “historically marginalized students.”
Hopefully, Blum is able to get justice for these students. Affirmative action only fosters racial tension and punishes those who actually deserve certain positions.