UT-Austin Re-Enacts Affirmative Action To Boost Diversity

Tristan Vawters, Shorthorn (Arlington, Tx.), June 16

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Starting in the fall, UT-Austin will re-enact affirmative action in its admissions process to bring in more minority freshmen despite the state’s current Top Ten Percent Law, which promotes diversity on college campuses by admitting high school seniors statewide from rural to suburban to inner-city areas who ranked in the top 10 percent of their class.

Don Hale, UT-Austin vice president of public affairs, said the university wants to be more diverse.

“The 10 percent law is not enough to increase minority enrollment,” he said. “We’re committed to diversity.”

According to a Diversity in Higher Education report, minority enrollment at UT-Austin decreased from 38 percent in fall 1996 to 32 percent in fall 1997 after the state’s affirmative action program ended. Even with the implementation of the Top 10 Percent Law, the increase in minority enrollment between 1998 and 2004 has been relatively small.

The only ethnic groups that didn’t see a drop in enrollment after the end of affirmative action were Asian and white students. After 1998, enrollment of all groups steadily decreased, along with the total incoming class at UT-Austin.

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