Bench Memos

‘UT Not Fair’

An organization called Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) today launched a new website, UTnotFair.com. The “UT” is the University of Texas at Austin; the organization, a brainchild of Edward Blum, is the same one that is suing Harvard and the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill for their use of racial preferences; and the website’s aim is to encourage students who were recently rejected by UT–​Austin to “share their stories” with SFFA. And some of those stories, it is hoped, will result in another, similar lawsuit against the University of Texas.

This is the time of year when some students will start getting those dreaded thin envelopes — that is, rejection letters — from universities. And Cory Liu, who recently joined SFFA as the new volunteer executive director, notes:

Even though many Asian students grow up like myself — as the children of immigrants speaking a language other than English at home — Asian students are denied an equal opportunity for higher education because of UT’s racially discriminatory admissions process. It isn’t right, and it isn’t lawful. Our Constitution guarantees every American equality under the law, regardless of their race.

But, you say, didn’t the University of Texas just win a lawsuit against another plaintiff, Abigail Fisher, who also had Mr. Blum’s backing? Yes, but that was based on an admissions system nearly a decade old, and the Supreme Court has warned that schools are obliged to reevaluate and update their discriminatory systems frequently, to show that their use of race remains necessary and justified. And, besides, it’s important for schools to know to know that they will have to be looking over their shoulders constantly if they insist on treating applicants differently on the basis of skin color and what country their ancestors came from.

There’s no rest for the wicked.

One last note: It will be interesting to see if the Trump administration believes that part of making America great again is following the principles of E pluribus unum and character-not-color when it comes to civil rights.

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