University of Texas
Originally published 06/24/2013
Credit: Wiki Commons.The Supreme Court, in a 7-1 decision with Justice Ginsburg dissenting, has issued a ruling in the Fisher v. University of Texascase that will likely require public universities to explore virtually all race-neutral alternatives in their attempts to achieve diversity before being able to use race as a factor in admissions.The ruling was probably the result of a compromise that, while not overturning previous decisions and not ruling that UT’s use of race is unconstitutional, will nevertheless lead to greater difficulty for colleges that want to use race as a factor in admissions.The decision vacates the ruling in favor of UT Austin by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and remands the case to the circuit court with instructions to apply "strict scrutiny" to the university’s rationale for using race as an admissions factor.
Originally published 01/29/2013
Richard Pells is professor of history emeritus at the University of Texas. He is the author of four books on modern American culture, most recently Modernist America: Art, Music, Movies, and the Globalization of American Culture (Yale University Press, 2011).The National Association of Scholars recently released a report excoriating the teaching of American history at the University of Texas at Austin and, to a lesser extent, at Texas A&M University at College Station.The report argues that there is an almost monomaniacal preoccupation in American-history courses withon the issues of race, class, gender, and ethnicity. Meanwhile, it argues, not enough attention is being paid to the history of American politics, economics, and culture, and the military.The report has caused considerable fury among University of Texas historians,and it has apparently incensed American historians at other universities as well. Its critics have accused the association's writers of being conservative assailants who don't know what they're talking about.It's true that the NAS is a conservative organization. Yet being conservative does not by itself make an organization uninformed or invalidate its report....