By a narrow 5 to 4 decision Monday the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that racial preferences can be used as a factor in college admissions, upholding the controversial concept of affirmative action.
The Supreme Court ruling struck down one University of Michigan Admissions Policy while keeping another intact. The schools undergraduate quota plan that gave extra points, 20 out of 160, to Blacks and Hispanics was outlawed. But, Michigan's Law School Plan that just considers race was upheld. The swing vote belonged to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. She wrote that for U.S. business and the military to stay strong, students raised in mostly segregated surroundings need exposure to diverse people.
In the wake of Monday's rulings, some college administrators will have to draft new admissions policies. At Texas Tech University, the Chair of Admissions for the Law School says they will now be able to consider race and ethnicity. It is something they have not been able to do since 1996, when the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a ruling that says any consideration of race, even as one factor among many, was unconstitutional.
"Today's (Monday's) ruling will help us I believe because we will now be able to take race and ethnicity into account," said Wesley Cochran, Chair of TTU Law School Admissions Committee.
Right now, Cochran says the Texas Tech Law School will continue to follow normal admission procedures.