What Supreme Court Decision on Affirmative Action Means for Military Students

We decided to cover two perspectives (combined into one post) on the recent SCOTUS decision to expand upon the definition of Affirmative Action (AA) at UT Austin last week.

scotusOne is our opinion of key takeaways following the landmark decision, the other gives more of a personal perspective on how Affirmative Action in Higher Education continues to re-shape the lives of American families, many of whom have close connections to the military.

Here is a timely post due on the SCOTUS’ decision to expand on definition of Affirmative Action (AA) at UT Austin last week. It is relevant to military students for the following reasons:

I – The diversity side of the USA Today article connects to service members in the military because it is the largest diversity employer in the world.

II – The story within the story will resonate with members of the military and their families. That is, how one person in a family can be a game changer for other family members.

III – We also wanted to spotlight how the sister found the military (see excerpt below) and went to college following her national service. This is another example of how the military often helps misdirected, yet aspiring, youth find themselves and the learn discipline and skills necessary to succeed in all other walks of life, including higher education.

“My sister Gabrielle enrolled in college right after high school but dropped all five of her classes. “School just isn’t for me,” she said.  She served in the military and now, saying I’ve inspired her, she will complete her final year in UT’s nursing program in May 2017. She has maintained a 3.95 grade point average and plans to attend medical school after graduation.”

Adopted From Legal Interpretation of Supreme Court Decision

Here’s a summary of how the SCOTUS expanded the definition of affirmative action (AA):

– The court decided that affirmative action guarantees 14th Amendment rights and includes equal protection of the laws. Abigail Fisher (the plaintiff) was a white female and, in effect, claimed UT Austin exercised reverse discrimination in denying her admission. Therefore ‘equal protection’ includes gender, race and orientation.

– SCOTUS sent a message to make sure your admission policies are not only fair, but consistent. A student you can’t be accepted because of one policy and then denied by another.

– Related to this is the value of simplifying admissions’ polices. UT Austin’s admission policies were seen as overly complicated and too interventionist. Their version of AA, included a Top Ten Percent Plan, an Academic Index and a Personal Achievement Index. This caused their admissions’ policies to be very complex; made them susceptible to misinterpretation and invited public scrutiny; and, ultimately, created conflicts among students and admissions who they were meant to protect.

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