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  • Originally published 06/24/2013

    SCOTUS Ruling on Affirmative Action Could Give Private Universities Advantage

    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 01/31/2013

    Aztec conquest altered Mexican genetics

    AUSTIN, Texas — For centuries, the fate of the original Otomí inhabitants of Xaltocan, the capital of a pre-Aztec Mexican city-state, has remained unknown. Researchers have long wondered whether they assimilated with the Aztecs or abandoned the town altogether.According to new anthropological research from The University of Texas at Austin, Wichita State University and Washington State University, the answers may lie in DNA. Following this line of evidence, the researchers theorize that some original Otomies, possibly elite rulers, may have fled the town. Their exodus may have led to the reorganization of the original residents within Xaltocan, or to the influx of new residents, who may have intermarried with the Otomí population.Using ancient DNA (aDNA) sampling, Jaime Mata-Míguez, an anthropology graduate student and lead author of the study, tracked the biological comings and goings of the Otomí people following the incorporation of Xaltocan into the Aztec empire. The study, published in American Journal of Physical Anthropology, is the first to provide genetic evidence for the anthropological cold case....

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