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Fisher vs. University of Texas: A Great Debate

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The Supreme Court takes up Fisher vs. The University of Texas at Austin today, in a potentially landmark case that could limit or eliminate affirmative action practices in colleges' and universities' admissions departments across the country.

While that court decides, we'll debate the issue here in the court of public opinion. Start by picking which side of the debate you sympathize with. Then read a case for each side, and see if you've changed your mind.

Step
1

Pre-debate poll:

Tell us your opinion before the debate starts to set the starting line

There Is Nothing Wrong With UT-Austin's Admissions System

Agree - Thanks for voting! Please proceed to read the debate below

Please vote to proceed to the debate

Step
2

Who makes the better argument?

Samantha Robles Third Year Social Work Student, UT

Elements of social and intellectual experience form an individual value that is intangible. I am a first-generation student, Latina, daughter, older sister, friend, ageless learner, advocate and a lover of Zumba. Each of these describes me, yet these words are not fully capable of defining my learning experiences, hardships or goals.

The University of Texas is seeking diversity -- race being only one consideration in this process. The Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin decision will be the deciding factor in how universities across the country can seek a diverse student population.

Diversity is a complex concept that is not limited to what we put on our college applications. The "top 10 percent rule" in Texas helps bring students from various rural communities, social classes, sexual orientations, races and learning levels; however, it is not enough to achieve the amount of diversity needed at this university. Holistic review is important to UT because it allows for a person to be recognized by everything that makes them whole and unique.

We are dealing with educational inequalities that need to be resolved from the roots of the public education system. The top 10 percent rule is only successful in Texas because the state is hyper-segregated. As community leaders and public educators, we have to work together in creating an equal opportunity playing field.

My college experience has been diverse beyond imagination. I have had the opportunity to serve different communities of color, be an ally to the queer community and be a leader to foster growth in others. My greatest companions at the university are of different colors, different religions, genders and sexual orientations. Our different walks of life have led us here to the University of Texas.

Although my college experience is a testament to the diverse life at UT, there are still students that have been uncomfortable in a class setting or who have been discriminated against by a fellow student. These incidents are an indicator that we need more diversity on campus.

The University of Texas is looking for diversity. Regardless of your major, your involvement on campus, your career goals or personal goals, students at the University of Texas believe in changing the world. This can only be attained by bringing in students with a worldwide range of perspectives and experiences.

Diversity improves student life. It breaks down racial barriers -- many barriers -- and helps us understand and appreciate our differences.

Diversity will unite us more than it can ever divide us.

Mac McCann Student, UT

Diversity is one the many things that makes America so great. More than a nationality, being American is an idea. We must try our best as a nation to live up to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream of a country where people "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the question is not just one of college admissions, but of our very belief in equality. Racism is a form of stupidity that should have no place in education. Regardless of the intentions, choosing one applicant over another based on their skin color -- even if only one factor of the decision -- is indeed racism.

It is unfair to white students to have their chances of admission lessened because of their skin color. Even more so, it is degrading to minority students to imply that they need a boost simply because of their race.

While racism is still a very serious problem in America, institutionalizing racial differences in our public universities is an embarrassment to anyone who believes in equality. Our schools, more than any other institution, should judge us by the content of our character and not the color of our skin.

According to The New York Times, studies have shown that ugly people are discriminated against; for example, they make less money over their lifetimes than their peers. One's attractiveness, or lack thereof, is something you don't choose -- just like race. Should we provide special treatment for less attractive applicants?

As a believer in equality, I hope that the Supreme Court overturns the 2003 Grutter v. Bollinger ruling, which ruled that as long as other factors were taken into account, race could be used a factor in the admissions process. Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin will be a historic decision. Let's hope it falls on the side of equality.

Step
3

POST DEBATE POLL

Did one of the arguments change your mind?

There Is Nothing Wrong With UT-Austin's Admissions System

VIEW DEBATE ROUND 1 RESULTS

Agree - Thanks for voting again! Here are the results:

Before

After

moreless AgreeDisagreeUndecided

Samantha RoblesMac McCannNeither argumenthas changed the most minds

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