Texas Tech May Consider Race in Student Applications - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/26/04

Texas Tech May Consider Race in Student Applications

 The raced-based policy stems from a U.S. Supreme Court decision last summer that ruled universities can use race when considering applicants. In the past this is something Tech stayed away from, but now officials here feel considering race is crucial to maintaining an increasingly diverse campus.

GPA, ACT and SAT scores, all part of the admissions process at Texas Tech. Add race to that mix of standards and the controversy begins. "I think it shouldn't be an issue because people should come to a university based on their knowledge not just their race," says Tech student, Alfredo Ferrer.

"I think they should because we don't have many minorities up here so they should start looking at that more," says Tech student, Eugene Olenihu.

On the current application you'll find questions regarding academic performance, class rank, and extracurricular activities. The race question is listed in the optional section. But, Tech officials say putting this question in the required section may help diversify a campus where last fall's freshman class was 82% white. 

"We feel it's important to have a diverse student body for the student while they are going to the university as well as when they get out of the university and work in the state," says Texas Tech Board of Regents Chairman Bob Black.

Black says that as the percentage of minorities in the state increases, universities should try to follow suit. Making their campuses match what the rest of the world looks like. "One of the strategic points the board has made is diversity and that's one of our five points of the star," says Black.

Texas Supreme Court Justice Steven Smith filed a court case in 1996 eliminating racial preferences for admissions at Texas universities. He says racial diversity is important but should not be considered in any university admissions process. "I think we should find other ways to diversify other than given a plus factor on their race or ethnicity," says Justice Smith.

The Texas Tech Board of Regents is expected to discuss and maybe approve race and ethnicity as factors in admissions in their meeting on Friday at 10a.m.

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