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Monday, April 23, 2018

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UT admission verdict makes a dent on white privilege


Here is yet another unfortunate case of what happens when white privilege corrodes the mind. Affirmative action needs to stay.

Abigail Fisher, a former Sugar Land resident and a 2012 Louisiana State University graduate, has made a fuss about not gaining admission into the University of Texas at Austin in 2008 for being white.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled against Fisher and deemed the affirmative action practice by UT acceptable.

Fisher really wanted to get into the school because she wanted to follow the path her father and sister had taken (and, by the way, the UT system bans the consideration of legacy status when evaluating applicants). When she got denied, she threw a tantrum and figured it had to be every other factor except, well, Fisher herself.

When Fisher applied to UT in 2008, the institution automatically accepted students who finished in the top 10 percent of their graduating classes. Fisher did not.

This left Fisher to compete for the other 841 reserved spots for non-top-tier students that year. Her chances of admission were much lower, as the university’s acceptance rate is 43 percent.

UT then evaluated Fisher based on her test scores, grades and what they call the Personal Achievement Index (PAI). In this, the university considers academic achievements along with the applicants’ essays, leadership roles, extracurricular activities and “special circumstances,” including race and socioeconomic status.

The admissions officials deemed Fisher simply not good enough to get into UT and, crazily enough, she probably wasn’t the first to get denied by the prestigious school.

Of all the admitted students who had lower test scores than Fisher, only five were black or Latino while 42 were white. One can just hear discrimination screaming through those numbers.

The greatest part of this story is that Fisher ended up graduating from LSU, is a business analyst in Austin and was still able to find success in life. Yet, according to her, life could actually be better.

“The only thing I missed out on was my post-graduation years,” she told The New York Times in 2012. “Just being in a network of UT graduates would have been a really nice thing to be in. And I probably would have gotten a better job offer had I gone to UT.”

This is a terrible joke: the affluent Fisher still had the nerve to complain about the possibilities of having a better job when she already has one.

Only a person from a background of white privilege can take being denied admission to a college all the way to the nation’s highest court because she refused to accept the fact that she just simply wasn’t good enough.

Fisher’s case reaffirms why affirmative action is still needed. She made good grades but was deemed not as well-rounded as other students, or as those whom UT accepted ahead of her.

The policy allows students who don’t have Fisher’s level of fortune a chance to shine in an environment of higher learning. It also brings racial diversity to campuses in America that see 61 percent of its undergraduates as white.

It’s not like there was a flurry of minorities with lower grades filling up the quota at UT when Fisher applied. She should have done her homework before dragging this process out for four years and wasting taxpayer money.

She should go kick rocks or, even better, stay mad.

Odus Evbagharu is a political science junior and can be reached at [email protected]

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