Press Release - The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Press Call Wrap Up: Civil Rights Leaders, Litigators, and Students Speak Out in Support of University of Texas Admissions Policy
For Immediate Release
Contact: Scott Westbrook Simpson, 202.466.2061, email@example.com
October 4, 2012
(Washington, D.C.) Earlier today, a wide range of organizations and institutions that filed briefs in support of the University of Texas at Austin’s (UT) undergraduate admissions policy hosted a telephonic media briefing to discuss what is at stake in the case. The university’s policy considers a number of factors, including race, in order to create a diverse learning environment that prepares students for the real world.
The briefing reflected a broad swath of the groups and leaders who have filed amicus briefs supporting UT, including Ivy League universities, Latino organizations, women’s organizations, Black UT students/NAACP LDF, and Asian-American organizations.
Amicus briefs were filed in support if UT on behalf of the United States, members of Congress, more than 55 leading corporations, more than 35 high-ranking retired military officials, student organizations, prominent social scientists, colleges and universities, small business representatives, states, religious denominations, labor unions, and civil and human rights organizations.
On today’s press call, stakeholders on this issue made the following comments:
Thomas Saenz, President and General Counsel of MALDEF: MALDEF Brief
"Equal educational opportunity remains an elusive goal in Texas as throughout the nation. Texas, in particular, has faced and continues to face ongoing inequities in its funding of public schools; because of segregation, these disparities correlate strongly with race. This and other educational inequities, while not strictly a part of the constitutional test in this case, are critical context in evaluating a program designed to ensure that all university students receive the benefits of studentbody diversity."
Marcia Greenberger, Founder and Co-President of the National Women's Law Center: NWLC Brief
“Diverse colleges and universities will not happen on their own. If we don’t cultivate diversity, the persistent effects of often unconscious stereotypes and other obstacles to success will result in too many women being shut out from opportunity and will narrow the experience of us all. For these reasons, businesses, the military, and our nation’s institutions have supported affirmative action policies as effective and modest approaches to providing students of all backgrounds a fair shot at our nation’s universities.”
Debo P. Adegbile, Acting President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund: LDF Brief
“As the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized, we should leave pathways to opportunity visibly open to everyone in our country. Colleges will be less diverse if race can’t be considered on applications. After colleges in California stopped considering race, the number of African American students at UCLA and Berkeley declined significantly. For many students, college is the first time they have meaningful opportunities to interact with people from vastly different backgrounds.”
Michelle Lee, Student at University of California San Diego
“I don't think that just grades and test scores are the best way to decide who should be admitted to a college or university because there is so much more that makes a person than just that. Colleges and universities should consider a whole person and everything they bring, including the different experiences they have because of their race. “
Karen Narasaki, Moderator, Former President of the Asian American Justice Center: Asian American Center for Advancing Justice Brief
“Obviously, this is a case of tremendous importance to the civil and human rights community. In line with Supreme Court precedent, the University of Texas has created a fair process for expanding opportunity, which we fully support. … Many Asian Americans firmly support affirmative action programs. Just last week, the results of a very recent scientifically conducted national survey of more than 3,300 Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders found that about three-quarters of them support ‘affirmative action programs designed to help Blacks, women and other minorities get better jobs and education.’”