The University of Texas at Austin’s Defense of Affirmative Action in Fisher v. University of Texas: Lessons for Institutional Policies and Practices

Liliana M. Garces


In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (2013), the U.S. Supreme Court most recently recognized the right of universities to pursue a mission-centered interest in the educational benefits of student body diversity. The decision, however, also reminded institutions of the limited ways they are allowed to consider race in admissions policies to advance this goal. As institutions assess how to proceed in the aftermath of Fisher, it is important to consider any lessons learned from the case that can guide future efforts. In this article, I consider how the University of Texas at Austin’s arguments in support of its policy can guide future efforts to support Latina/os in higher education. The university’s arguments offer a more contextualized way to think of diversity-related policies, which can support the educational experiences of Latina/os more effectively and advance the long-term interests of this community and other underrepresented populations in higher education.

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