While UT administrators breathe a sigh of relief after today’s ruling from the Supreme Court on the case of Fisher v. University of Texas, administration at University of Michigan is cautiously examining the impact of the case on their own admissions policy.
The court, which found the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals had not sufficiently reviewed UT’s admissions policy under the standards of strict scrutiny, has sent the case back to the appeals court for review. The high body also upheld the precedent of using of race in admissions as a compelling state interest, a "pleasing result," according to UT President William Powers Jr.
For now the ruling means the University and the next incoming class will be able to use race as a factor in admissions, although the University may be held to a tighter standard of disclosure for its use of admissions in the future.
Such a decision means there will also be no immediate changes at the University of Michigan, which, ten years ago, successfully fought to uphold the use of race in admissions in the 2003 Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger. Today, the university cannot use race as a factor in admissions because of a 2006 voter initiative that ended the practice, although that ruling is currently being challenged in the upcoming Supreme Court case Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.
University of Michigan’s president, Mary Sue Coleman, praised the Supreme Court’s decision Monday in a statement.
“At the University of Michigan, we remain committed to building and maintaining diversity on our campus, and we will continue to work toward that goal in ways that comply with state and federal law,” Coleman said.
The Michigan case, which will be heard by the court this fall, will examine whether or not a state’s ruling to prohibit the consideration of race or gender in admissions violates guarantees of equal protection under the U.S. Constitution.