The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the practice of using race as a determining factor in college admissions to achieve diversity on campus at the University of Texas is acceptable. As MPB's Mark Rigsby reports, public colleges and universities in Mississippi are required to increase their numbers of underrepresented students.
"We have believed, locally and nationally, with the ACLU that diversity only makes us better."
Erik Fleming, of the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi says the high court's decision is a victory for diversity.
"As long as all of our young people have a chance to get a higher education degree, whatever strategies, whatever policies that need to be in place to create that, we're in favor of that," says Fleming.
Abigail Fisher, who is white, challenged the University of Texas admissions policy in 2008. She claimed she was not accepted by the school, while some African-American applicants were admitted, despite their lower grades and test scores. Fisher went to LSU and graduated in 2012. Eight states forbid considering race in admissions at public colleges and universities. Mississippi is not one of them.
The State Institutions of Higher Learning's admissions policy has no specific reference to race or ethnicity. However, the IHL Diversity Statement says it has a "moral and educational responsibility" to diversity on campus. One of its goals is "to increase the enrollment and graduation rate of underrepresented students at our institutions." A spokesperson for IHL says if an incoming freshman meets the basic requirements for admission, they are accepted, regardless of race or ethnicity.