WASHINGTON, Sept. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today Gail Heriot and Peter Kirsanow, two members of the eight-member U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, filed an Amicus Curiae Brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Abigail Fisher, the young woman suing the University of Texas over its race-preferential admissions policy. The two commissioners filed in their individual capacities as private citizens and not on behalf of the Commission as a whole.
The Heriot-Kirsanow Brief draws heavily on research showing that race-preferential admissions policies do more harm than good even for their intended beneficiaries. This research was discussed in greater depth in a special report entitled "A 'Dubious Expediency,' How Race-Preferential Admissions Policies on Campus Hurt Minority Students" by Commissioner Heriot, who is a professor of law at the University of San Diego.
The Brief makes it clear that colleges and universities that offer preferential treatment to students based on their race, ethnicity or any other status (including legacy status) aren't doing these students any favors. Students who accept such a preference typically wind up with lower grades than they would have received from a school in which their entering credentials put them more toward the middle or upper part of the class. On average, their career prospects are diminished rather than enhanced—or so the mounting body of evidence indicates.
The Brief goes on to excoriate the University of Texas for affirmative action policies that neglect the interests of flesh and blood students in a misguided effort at attaining social justice and for failing to warn students of the research indicating the risk. According to the Brief, if UT were a corporation subject to federal securities laws for its admissions policies, its failure to warn students of the research "might be considered actionable fraud."
"We're happy to pay out of our own pockets to bring this research to the attention of the Supreme Court and the public if that's what we need to do," said Commissioner Heriot, "but the Commission as a whole ought to have the courage to deal with the evidence fairly and forthrightly."
Oral argument in Fisher v. University of Texas will likely occur sometime around the end of the year. A decision is not expected until 2016. Heriot and Kirsanow are among the founders of the New American Civil Rights Project a web site and blog documenting civil rights issues and cases of interest. Updates on this case will be posted here.
SOURCE New American Civil Rights Project