Fifth Circuit Affirms UT Austin’s Admissions Process

July 16, 2014

The decision from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals was delivered Tuesday afternoon, upholding the University of Texas at Austin’s admission process. The summary of the decision:

No. 09-50822

Before KING, HIGGINBOTHAM, and GARZA, Circuit Judges.
Abigail Fisher brought this action against the University of Texas at Austin, alleging that the University’s race-conscious admissions program violated the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court granted summary judgment to UT Austin and we affirmed. The Supreme Court vacated and remanded, holding that this Court and the district court reviewed UT Austin’s means to the end of a diverse student body with undue deference; that we must give a more exacting scrutiny to UT Austin’s efforts to achieve diversity. With the benefit of additional briefing, oral argument, and the ordered exacting scrutiny, we affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment.

Listen to President Powers’s statement regarding the Fisher decision at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon (1:18): 

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Press Conf_7_15_2014

Kori Rady, Student Government president; UT Austin President Bill Powers; Geetika Jerath, president-elect of the Senate of College Councils; and Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement at the press conference announcing Fifth Circuit decision.

In response to a reporter’s question, President Powers explained the importance of having a diverse student population:  “It is important because all of our students regardless of ethnicity or race will be out in a very diverse world, both globally and within the united states. And working across lines of income, lines of ethnicity,lines of political and religious views. It is important that they have an environment on campus where they are learning across those lines.” When asked what message the decision sent to students at the university,  He said it  “extends the message we do believe in diversity and its importance in their education.”


Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement, talks to reporters after President Powers’ remarks.

Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement, also spoke to reporters about the Fifth Circuit decision. He noted that Fisher v. Texas has had national following because it was the first major challenge to the 2003 Grutter decision. “The Fifth Circuit decision really supports that Grutter is indeed the law of the land, that universities have clear guidance on how to meet both prongs of the strict scrutiny test. . . That diversity is a compelling interest and to use race as one factor in the admissions decision. I think there is a positive and clear blueprint for universities to follow.”


Erica Saenz, DDCE assistant vice president for community and external relations, spoke with reporters from Univision and Telemundo.


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