Racism at University at Austin

Christos Liardakis, Assistant Opinions Editor


The University of Texas (UT) at Austin has gotten itself into a very precarious position where it will be facing off in the Supreme Court against one Abigail Fisher, a hopeful white student recently denied admissions to the university. Many students are denied admission to universities all the time, but the issue that brought this case so much attention is that Ms. Fisher was not admitted because of her color.
All universities have a way of deciding who is and isn’t admitted, in the case of the University of Texas; the first thing they look at is the student’s graduating class rank. If they are in the top percentile, they are automatically granted admission. If not, they look at the students AI score, a measure of grades and test scores. They then look at something a bit more cerebral called the PAI score. All universities look at these numbers, the PAI evaluation is the only score that differs between universities.
The first part of a PAI score is a PAS score in which the prospective student writes two essays and submits them with the application, and then they look at six weighed factors: leadership potential, extracurricular activities, honors and awards, work experience, community service, and special circumstances. The first five factors seem easy enough to understand. It’s the special circumstances that have everyone scratching their heads. According to UT, special circumstances include socioeconomic considerations and the applicant’s race is “a factor of a factor of a factor of a factor.”
Yet even though this is such a small factor, UT stands by its statement that “It is impossible to tell whether an applicant’s race was a tipping factor for any given admit.” Yet in the past UT proudly states that of “the 728 African-Americans offered admission to the 2008 class, 146, or 20%, were admitted through full-file review.” That is exceptionally outside the top 10% policy and it is quite frankly almost impossible for a fraction to the fourth to produce such outstanding results.
It is understandable that without these kinds of movements, disadvantaged minorities would find it harder to gain a proper education. But racial preference towards one group over another still constitutes racism and just breeds more malice and racism. The main problem is not whether or not these disadvantaged minorities are able to attend college, but rather the problem is how our government and political agenda has failed to bring justice to those communities so that the disadvantaged can be prepared for college before they even reach the admissions process. It’s 2012 everyone, and it’s time politics stopped living in the 1950’s and finally started asking the hard questions: “How poorly have we been serving the disadvantaged communities and minorities for all these years? And how can we better serve them without simply playing the race card?”