chapter  4
17 Pages

Tejas Es Diferente: UT Austin’s Admissions Program in Light of Its Exclusionary History

ByTomiko Brown-Nagin, Lani Guinier, Gerald Torres

Fisher v. University of Texas (2013) is unlike any affi rmative action case the U.S. Supreme Court has ever confronted. For the very fi rst time in history, the Court was asked to rule on the constitutionality of an admissions program designed to increase racial diversity at a university located in a southern state-Texas. The history of Texas and of the University of Texas (UT) distinguishes the Fisher case from DeFunis v. Odegaard (1974), Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978), and Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), all of which involved universities located in the North or West that lacked a history of state-mandated segregation. Fisher arose out of a profoundly different context. UT’s quest for a racially diverse student body is justifi ed, in part, because it represents an attempt by the university to come to terms with its own history of purposeful discrimination and the history of purposeful discrimination by the state of Texas.