Affirmative Action Granted for Non-English University Students

John Bennett, Newsmax, September 12, 2014

Applicants to the University of Texas (UT), among potentially many other schools, can benefit from affirmative action if English is not spoken in the applicant’s home.

This little-noticed feature of the UT admissions program was buried in last year’s Supreme Court decision, Fisher v. University of Texas. As the Fisher majority explained, students can reap the rewards of preferences for “speaking a language other than English at home.”

Several legal experts find this form of preference questionable, if not unconstitutional.

“It discourages assimilation,” Gail Heriot, a University of San Diego law professor, says. By potentially rewarding applicants from families that do not speak English precisely because they have not linguistically assimilated, the preference seems to run against the grain of the American immigration ethos.


The non-English preference has largely escaped scrutiny, even following the recent Fisher case. As the Supreme Court majority described UT’s admissions program in Fisher, there are “special circumstances that give insight into a student’s background” such as “growing up in a single-parent home, speaking a language other than English at home, significant family responsibilities assumed by the applicant, and the general socioeconomic condition of the student’s family.” In addition, membership in certain specific racial minority groups can, of course, be a basis for preferences.

One aspect of the non-English language preference that has escaped notice is that the language preference could essentially be a racial preference.

Stuart Taylor, Jr., is co-author of Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It’s Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won’t Admit It. Taylor says that the language preference “could of course be seen as a surrogate for racial preferences, either to give the appearance that the racial preferences are not as large as they really are or to serve as a fallback in case the courts strike down (or severely limit) the university’s use of the racial preferences.”


Schools could easily credit applicants for being bilingual, without attaching the preference to the applicant’s home environment.

For instance, admissions policies could credit bilingual applicants on the basis of their bilingual ability, without reference to the language spoken at home. It is the explicit preference for homes where English is not spoken that raises critics’ concerns. By offering preferences on the basis of the students’ home environment, UT’s policy is in effect rewarding students from families that refuse or are unable to learn and speak English.

Topics: , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • D.B. Cooper

    It’s okay. I feel too many 17-19 year old white boys are past due for a reality check. This latest stunt might help send them on their way.
    “Hook ’em ‘Horns!”
    Yeah, right.

  • phorning

    “It discourages assimilation,” Gail Heriot, a University of San Diego law professor, says.

    That’s the point, Gail. They want to force us to have a multilingual nation.

    • The Worlds Scapegoat

      Who is “THEY”?

      Is it the Harper Valley PTA?


      • Lion’s Mane

        The top 1% – 2% wealthiest and most powerful families in the U.S. and their counterparts in other countries. ‘They’ are forcing us into ‘captivity’ in much the same manner that lions and tigers are kept in a zoo. We ordinary citizens are forced to compete against an influx of cheap labor, so as to reduce our incomes and political power.

    • Oil Can Harry

      At which point millions of Third World invaders turned to Ms. Heriot and said ‘You thought we were planning to assimilate?”

  • anony

    All affirmative action is wrong!

    It is simply racism against Whites, especially White males.

  • Not to mention subject to fraud. If you say your household was predominately non-English speaking, but it really was English-speaking, how can they prove that you were lying? And will they really want to bother trying to prove fraud? The first answer is that it would be pretty difficult, in fact fairly expensive and time consuming, which means the second answer is no.

  • I was a professor in the UT System (either 9 or 11 campuses all over the state). The University of Texas is the most anti-white institution in the USA. We were told by the leaders of the San Antonio campus (President Ricardo Romo, as vile a Mexican as ever breathed) that the state has decided that EVERY “Hispanic” (read that as Mexican) in the state WILL be given a college degree.

    Romo packed my classrooms with hundreds of illiterate, drug-dealing barrior gang bangers as soon as he became president in 1999. As you might guess the pressure to simply give out grades was enormous, primarily by having students work in groups and receive group grades. Most of them simply came to pick up their checks, while skipping the actual attendance in class required to succeed.

    Higher ed today, at least in my experience in dealing with a university administration of low IQ Mexicans (Romo would test in the low 90s; I doubt he know how to read above a 7th grade level), is a FRAUD. Never donate money to any university, unless it explicitly rejects diversity and multiculturalism. Trouble is, I don’t know of one like that.

    • anony

      When my alma maters call for donations, I ask them if they support affirmative action. When they, of course, say yes, I tell them that I will give not one dime to discriminate against my people, White people.

      • Samuel Hathaway

        You, sir, deserve an award. Please, continue to do your race proud. I will do the same when Toccoa Falls college comes rattling the tin cup in my face.

      • SFLBIB

        I have more fun with them than that. I ask if their school has a speech code [they all do]. The usual answer is, “I don’t know”, even though it is right there on page one of their website. I then tell them some juicy true stories of the excesses of academia, like the one where a professor called a student a “fascist bastard”. As I described the plight of one student who got a $40,000 judgment against his school, the caller kept saying over and over, “This is very interesting; this is very interesting.”

        They usually try to get me to make an undesignated donation. I refuse because you are just supporting these nutty programs. They will then ask me to designate my donation to the Engineering Dept. I refuse this also because all they have to do is subtract my amount from the Dept.’s allotment from the general fund, thus freeing up that fund’s money for more craziness.

        I try to keep them on the line as long as possible to use up their time so as to bother others less. If they ask if I wish to be removed from the call list, I say, “No; I want to inform the next caller.”

    • Samuel Hathaway

      Absolutely I will NOT donate a penny to my alma mater, Toccoa Falls College. They suddenly accepted, strangely, a bus-load of blacks my senior year. Not surprisingly, they signed up with the basketball team and began chasing the white chicks around campus.
      When I think of Austin, I think of Austin City Limits and all those great old country singers that don’t get airplay anymore.

    • Since ‘diversity’ has become a criterion in the academic rankings, even small, far-flung liberal-arts colleges in the hinterland are part of the scramble to enroll ethnic minorities, qualified or not.

      Whether these minorities will be happy in remote small towns is irrelevant. The important thing is that there be no respected institutions anywhere with significant white majorities.

    • LHathaway

      Dinesh D’Souza is president of a religious university. No doubt, they are anti-white too, just less so. I’m willing to bet, quite a bit less so.

    • SFLBIB

      “I have never known a word to become absolute dogma, without a speck of evidence, the way ‘diversity’ has.” — Dr. Thomas Sowell

  • humura

    If they speak Spanish at home, why demand that they use English at the university? That too is discrimination. All of their classes should be in Spanish too, with illegal alien professors who can best understand the horrors of trying to grow up in the US when you recently crossed the border.

    • SFLBIB

      One thing I’ve never figured out is Hispanic students doing poorly in Spanish classes. If I were to go to Spain and enroll in an English course, I’d ace it out.

  • Ike Eichenberg

    We speak Hebrew at home, no need for my kids to study or do well on those racist college admissions tests.

    I wonder if Ebonics is going to count as “other than English?”

    • Samuel Hathaway

      good lord, the ebonics. why ain’ yoo thinkin ebonics ain’ no way uv talkin’…. you rayciss o sumpin? O maybe I jus hate yoo cuz yoo white.

    • SFLBIB

      “I wonder if Ebonics is going to count as ‘other than English’?”

      One thing you have to realize is that liberals never give up. It might be on the back burner for now, but rest assured it will rear its ugly head again, just like the sports team mascots issue.

  • none of your business

    Just check the black box, and you won’t have to go to 3rd tier UT. You’ll at least get Georgetown or Michigan if not Harvard or Stanford. full scholarship and you will receive unsolicited job offers in the mail starting spring of junior year.
    Or parent’s seriously consider changing your kids last names to hispanic ones before they start high school.
    I know, I know it is surrender but our leaders sacrificed us and our descendants to the Satan of diversity all we can do is endeavor to save ourselves and our children.

    • SFLBIB

      There was a fellow employee in my dept. who had a definite Hispanic appearing and sounding name, and he was always getting literature from the Hispanic employee committee. Being of Scandinavian descent and about as blond, blue-eyed, and fair skinned as you can without being an albino, he used to get very irritated at being stereotyped. LOL.

  • jambi19

    This is another liberal initiative that will do the exact opposite the left is intending to accomplish. These libtards think spanish speakers will flood the universities when really what will happen is a huge surge of chinese, hindi, vietnamese and cantonese speakers.

  • MBlanc46

    Sounds as if it’s time for another lawsuit.

  • obot

    Whites should start claiming they speak Welsh, Celtic, German, French, Italian etc at home

    • SFLBIB

      Won’t work. Somewhere buried in the law there must be a list that excludes those of European [except Spanish] descent.

      • Alexandra1973

        I know quite a bit of Spanish. Think that’d help?

        • SFLBIB

          With a name like “Alexandra”? I don’t think so.

  • none of your business

    “For instance, admissions policies could credit bilingual applicants on the basis of their bilingual ability”
    I believe bilingual refers to the illiterate garbled, mostly indian patois that passes for Spanish spoken by the invaders.

    • Melvin Bonzarelli

      True. Cheech Marin made fun of this years ago in one of the Cheech and Chong movies where he sang a song he had written about Mexican Americans: “Mexican Americans go to night school. They study Spanish and get a ‘B’ “

  • HE2

    My parents and grandparents still swear in Gaelic, though in the New World since the 17th Century.
    The kids’ father, a naturalized citizen, swears like a sailor, but only in German.
    No one in our household has any idea how to talk dirty in English. Do our kids qualify for set asides?

    • anony


  • kikz2

    i wonder if ebonics is on that list of languages… ?

    • Melvin Bonzarelli

      English is the language spoken by blacks at home. Most can in fact converse in that language. This new entitlement program for the Lawnmower People will adversely affect the chances of 25-year old illiterate young black men and women who just got their high school GED in prison from getting full scholarships to Harvard and Yale. These scholarships will now go to young Mayans and Aztecs from Central America so that they can be the first person in their hut to have both a PhD from Harvard and a brand new self-propelled electric lawnmower.

  • Ringo Lennon

    They couldn’t have changed the demographics of the country w/o the flood of illegal aliens from Mexico. A real gold mine for the America haters.

  • anony

    I also say the same thing when political campaigns call for donations. The callers are speechless! It’s great fun, and it sends a message.

  • Paleoconn

    Isn’t UT the school that has the top 10% admissions rule, ie. if you’re top 10% of your high school class, we want you! Makes no difference if you’re from YT high or Cesar Chavez high. Thanks again, George W. Bush!

    Besides the Kennedys, can anybody think of a more treasonous clan than who Ann Coulter dubs ‘the endless Bushes’? The Clintons perhaps

  • AmericanCitizen

    So now we’re going to dumb down college and bring in non-english speakers to learn . . . what, exactly? Fingerpainting? How to fill out welfare forms?

    We’re in the homestretch folks, the decline of America is full gear and isn’t stopping until rock bottom is hit. Mark my words, rock bottom for this country will not be nice.