The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

The Student News Site of Rock Bridge High School

Bearing News

Debate rages over racial ‘quota’ in college admissions

Contemplating the future: Juniors Sasha Martin and Haley Evers talk to an admissions officer from Truman State University. Many students like Martin will gain advantages in college admissions because of their race. Photo by Halley Hollis.

In 2010 the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 68.1 percent of high school graduates went on to post-secondary schools.

Of this same class, 84 percent of Asian graduates went on to college, followed by 68.6 percent of whites, 61.4 percent of blacks and 59.6 percent of Hispanics.

This discrepancy among ethnicities is not sudden. To encourage a greater amount of diversity on college and university the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 through Grutter v. Bollinger that every post-secondary school in the country may factor in race while considering applicants.

But merely nine years later, the Supreme Court will rule on the importance of racial diversity once again.

As a high school senior, Abigail Fisher filed a lawsuit against the University of Texas-Austin in 2008 after the school denied her application. Graduating in the top 12 percent of her class, Fisher claimed she was rejected for being Caucasian, as the University chooses to take race into account when accepting college applicants. Although the lower courts sided with the state initially, the Supreme Court accepted the case in late February and has not set a date for the case.

Though colleges and universities are not required to practice this race-conscious aspect of admissions, the ruling in Grutter v. Bollinger provided a way for schools to ensure diversity. RBHS guidance director Betsy Jones understands schools’ desires for racial variance. A diverse setting encourages students to interact with others who have been brought up differently and have a wealth of unique experiences, mimicking what life is like in actual jobs and careers.

“One of the most important things is at the high school and the university level is for kids to be exposed to people who are different from themselves,” Jones said.

Junior Eryn Wanyonyi, a member of Minority Achievement Committee scholars, agrees with this importance of diversity. By having to cooperate with people different from oneself, valuable lessons are learned and appreciation for what people have grows.

Diversity is “important in schools just for the fact that the world is not just one race,” Wanyonyi said. “And as you get older, you have different jobs, different people, different experiences.”

Office of Admissions senior associate director Chuck May said in an email that the University of Missouri-Columbia does not see race as a necessary admissions factor. The Supreme Court ruling in the new Fisher v. University of Texas case will not affect the MU system.

“High school students are expected to follow a college preparatory curriculum,” May said. “If a student’s ACT composite score is 24 or higher and they have completed Mizzou’s required core curriculum, then they will be admitted. … We do not use race as a factor in admissions. We have been able to attract record numbers of minority students each year without using race in admission decisions.”

Statistics from MU’s website show that for the fall of 2011, roughly 22 percent were listed as non-white or preferred not to specify. Even though this is an increase over 2010, the percentage is still below the national average.

Although MU doesn’t utilize a race factor in its admissions process, Wanyonyi believes this is OK. Though a minority student herself, Wanyonyi believes the academic achievement of students should not suffer because of another person’s skin color.

“I think that ultimately [college acceptance] should go to the student with the highest qualifications,” Wanyonyi said. “When you get accepted to college I think it should be based on your qualifications and how you’ve done in school, not necessarily because of your race.”
By Alyssa Sykuta

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