(“Audax” is the pen name of a Texas-based professor):
The Supreme Court sent the Fisher v. University of Texas admissions case back to the circuit court, ruling that the lower courts failed to apply the appropriate level of ‘strict scrutiny’ to U.T.’s blatant use of racial preferences in undergraduate admissions. UT cannot now win this case in a fair fight, since there is in fact no evidence that its racial preferences serve any legitimate educational value, and since diversity and ethnic diversity can (by UT’s own admission) be achieved without invidious discrimination, by simply allowing the 10% rule prescribed by state law to bear its natural fruit. Consequently, UT’s expensive private lawyers are attempting to circumvent the inevitability of this result by exploiting a technicality, arguing for the umpteenth time that Ms. Fisher lacks “standing” to bring suit (as reported by the Wall Street Journal on August 4).
President Powers decided that, rather than simply using the legal talent already on UT’s payroll, he would raise over $1 million in privately contributed funds to hire a Washington, D.C. law firm. The administration’s argument that this involves no cost to UT’s students and staff overlooks the obvious fungibility of money: money given to UT for this wasteful effort is money that cannot be given for the sake of scholarships or enhanced research.
It is long past time for Powers to stop defending the indefensible and concentrate instead on improving the quality and reducing the cost of undergraduate education at UT for students of all races. UT is doing minority students no favors by inducing them to mortgage their futures in exchange for a degree that, increasingly, neither enriches their minds nor improves their job prospects. The last thing minority students need is to take on a crushing debt in order to study African-American Studies, Gender Studies, Peace Studies or any of the other menagerie of politically-correct “Studies” fields. What’s even worse — fewer than one-half of these same students will be able to graduate with any degree (however dubious) within six years. With friends like Powers, minority students need no enemies. If Powers will not do the right thing and end race-based admission decisions, the Regents should step in and take responsibility for an institution that acts in their name and the name of the people of Texas.