In the wake of the university's arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 9 in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, it is clear that the university has a broad base of support. From constitutional scholars and educators to politicians, business leaders and students, more than 65 groups have written to the U.S. Supreme Court backing UT Austin.
Latin for “friend of the court,” Amicus Curiae briefs are filed by groups not directly tied to the case but who are still interested in the outcome.
Here’s a look at some of the briefs filed on the side of UT Austin.
Industry Leaders Want Diverse Hiring Pool
Leading businesses and industry groups — including 45 Fortune 100 companies from 3M and eBay to Microsoft and Starbucks, as well as DuPont, IBM, Intel and groups like the New York Bar Association — all filed Amicus Curiae briefs to support UT Austin.
In the briefs, these groups say the diverse student bodies at higher education institutions like UT Austin provide the best possible hiring pool when recruiting applicants. Like the narrowly tailored, holistic admissions process used on the Forty Acres, a complete-picture approach is used by most industry leaders when hiring new employees.
Universities Aver Benefits of Diverse Student Body
Across the higher education landscape, other universities stepped up to offer support for UT Austin.
Officials from more than 65 higher education institutions — including all eight Ivy League universities and eight leading public research universities — in addition to groups like Teach for America and the Associations for American Law Schools and Medical Colleges are all supporting UT Austin’s policy.
Like UT Austin, these universities, groups, administrators, researchers and professors believe admissions policies can’t be reduced to formulas but instead should include consideration of how each individual might contribute to and benefit from the student body.
Military Officials Cite Need for Broad Cultural Understanding
Officials from all ranks of the government also offered support for UT Austin by filing briefs with the Court. These officials include 17 U.S. senators, 66 members of Congress and more than 35 members of the Texas Legislature. The briefs also include support from the U.S. government, 19 states and the District of Columbia.
In a brief from 36 former military leaders who collectively bring centuries of experience leading soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in combat at the highest levels of military leadership, officials argue UT Austin’s admissions approach is essential to preparing future military leaders.
Students Seek Robust Educational Environment
Students from the Forty Acres and beyond also told the Court how a diverse student body accepted through a narrowly tailored, holistic admissions process is a fundamental part of the educational missions and experience of universities across the country.
Students from the New York University School of Law, 28 student organizations from the University of California, 14 former and recent UT Austin student body presidents and the Black Student Alliance at UT Austin all filed Amicus Curiae briefs in support of UT Austin.
Other Amicus Brief Filers Tout Diversity as 'American Value'
The outpouring of support for UT Austin continued with an array of groups filing briefs with the Court. These groups include human and civil rights advocates, religious organizations, 823 social science researchers, nonprofit organizations and even athletes.
Legendary Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewksi, along with other coaches and sporting groups, says in an Amicus Curiae brief that while sports teams are often highly visible examples of diversity, they cannot represent all, or even most, of the diversity in an academic community.
Read more about the overwhelming backing offered to UT Austin from industry leaders, higher education officials, government leaders, students and more with this complete list of Amicus Curiae briefs filed in support of UT Austin.
Media Preview Latest Arguments in Fisher Case
- Supreme Court Should Avoid Discouraging Meaningful Diversity in Higher Education
Los Angeles Times, Dec. 7, 2015
- What the Supreme Court Will Be Asking as It Revisits Affirmative Action
The Chronicle of Higher Education, Dec. 7, 2015
- At Texas' Flagship University, Many Fear for Diversity
USA Today, Dec. 2, 2015
- Family of Civil Rights Pioneer Heman Sweatt Backs UT's Race Policy
Associated Press, Nov. 26, 2015
- United States, Big Business Back UT in Admissions Case
Houston Chronicle, Nov. 6, 2015
- Big Businesses Back Affirmative Action Before U.S. Supreme Court
Reuters, Nov. 5, 2015
- College Groups Urge Supreme Court to Allow Colleges to Continue Considering Race in Admissions
Inside Higher Ed, Nov. 2, 2015
- College Basketball Coaches Jump in on Affirmative Action
Associated Press, Nov. 2, 2015
- Colleges Brace for Supreme Court Review of Race-Based Admissions
New York Times, June 30, 2015
.@UTAustin is proud to be going back to the Supreme Court to defend the use of race and ethnicity in holistic admissions.— Greg Fenves (@gregfenves) December 9, 2015
The educational benefits of a diverse student body are immense. Students are well-served when exposed to different life experiences.— Greg Fenves (@gregfenves) December 9, 2015