Has UT’s Diversity Hit ‘Critical Mass’?

Ann McClure's picture

Walking across the South Mall, or scanning the football stadium’s 100,000 seats on game day, University of Texas admissions director Kedra Ishop sees how much has changed since the 1990s, when she was a black student at what was an inordinately white school.

This giant flagship campus — once so slow to integrate — is now awash in color, among the most diverse in the country, if not the world. The student body, like Texas, is majority-minority.

So is this the “critical mass” of minority students that U.S. Supreme Court narrowly endorsed in 2003 as an educational goal important enough to allow colleges to factor the race of applicants into admissions decisions?

That question will be front and center Wednesday, when a more conservative Supreme Court revisits affirmative action for the first time since that landmark case nine years ago involving the University of Michigan.

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