Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

UT President Mauled in WSJ Letters


Last week, University of Texas president Bill Powers wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal in which he attempted to defend his school’s use of racial preferences in selecting students. Today’s Journal includes a number of sharp responses. Here’s the best:

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers’s defense of the university’s race-based admissions practices is more ironic than he knows (“An Admissions Policy That Prizes Diversity,” Oct. 10). The semantic gymnastics he deploys to avoid recognizing that the university denies admission to some students on the basis of their race is familiar, as well as being a testament to the depth of the denial that exists throughout much of academia.

Mr. Powers’s most preposterous turn of logic is that it is acceptable and even some sort of vindication of university policy to deny admission to a highly qualified applicant of one racial group in order to make room for admitting a less, but still minimally, qualified applicant of a favored racial group. That sounds vaguely familiar. All applicants are equal, but those of favored racial groups are more equal?

In 1950, the university’s policy of denying admission to some applicants on the basis of their race was overturned. It is now time to overturn their current policy of denying admission to some applicants on the basis of their race.

Ross S. Selvidge
Pasadena, CA


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review