On Monday, the University of Texas at Austin filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in response to a case that questions the role race plays in its admissions process. After the filing, UT-Austin President Bill Powers took to YouTube to express his confidence in the legality of university's current policies.
In 2008, Abigail Fisher, the plaintiff in the case, filed suit alleging that she had been denied admission to the university because she is white. The university uses race as part of a holistic review of applicants who aren't automatically admitted under a state law that grants admission to students in the top 10 percent of their graduating class. Fisher wants that practice to be reconsidered.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin in October. Public universities around the country are closely watching the case, because the fate of affirmative action policies throughout the country could rest on the final ruling.
It's possible that the case could lead to the overturning of Grutter v. Bollinger, a landmark 2003 decision that upheld affirmative action. In a video statement posted to the internet on Monday afternoon, Powers said that his university's policy "closely follows" the law as established by the Grutter decision.
Powers went on to say that the diversity that results from the policy benefits both the campus and the state as a whole. "We are confident that we will prevail in this case and that this will bring benefit to American higher education and to our nation and to the state of Texas."
Here is Powers' statement: