Texas Fifth Circut Court of Appeals Upholds Principles of Diversity in Higher Education - NAACP LDF

By Gloria Dulan-Wilson

Hello All:
I just received this wonderful piece of news from the LDF via Jennifer Parker, and thought it definitely needed to be shared immediately - if not sooner.

It's great to know that our time honored organizations are still diligently working in our behalf - and achieving victory after victory.  There are, I dare say, many of us who were not aware that this scenario was even being played out in Texas - with so many other issues roiling around simultaneously.

This decision will have impact throughout the United States on every college campus - especially those that have recently tried to back away from providing quality educational opportunity to African American students and students of color.

Kudos to the LDF for a great job - this is living history in the making, in our time, right now.  As with those who have blazed the trails and paved the way, we also give respect and appreciation to our contemporary heroes and heroines.

Thank you for a great job, well done.

Stay Blessed & 
Gloria Dulan-Wilson  

The article follows:

Sherrilyn Ifill President of the Legal Defense Fund (NAACP)

 Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Principles of Diversity in Higher Education, Affirms Lower Court Ruling in Fisher v. University of Texas on Remand

(New York, NY)--Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. applauds the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit's decision in Fisher v. University of Texas in which the court endorsed the benefits of a racially diverse student body. On remand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the constitutionality of the affirmative action measures taken to advance the University of Texas Austin's (UT Austin) compelling interest in fostering a diverse learning environment.    

In its decision, the Fifth Circuit recognized that a diverse campus brings invaluable benefits, writing: "We are persuaded that to deny UT Austin its limited use of race in its search for holistic diversity would hobble the richness of the educational experience."The Fifth Circuit added"We find force in the argument that race here is a necessary part, albeit one of many parts" of UT Austin's admissions plan.

Over the last several years, LDF has represented the Black Student Alliance at UT Austin (BSA) and Black Ex-Students of Texas (BEST) in the Fisher litigation. Last year, LDF argued in briefs and oral arguments in the Fifth Circuit that the framework established by the Supreme Court in the 2003 case of Grutter v. Bollinger remains vital. 
"Universities are incubators for America's future leadership and for civic engagement," said Sherrilyn A. Ifill, the President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. "This decision should stand as a declaration of the ongoing importance and legality of affirmative action efforts that holistically evaluate applicants for admission in higher education," Ifill added.  

The strength of the record developed by the University of Texas sufficiently supports the ongoing use of race as a tool to ensure diversity in our nation's institutions of higher learning.  

David McDonald, the President of the Black Student Alliance at UT Austin, said "My classmates and I have seen firsthand how important a diverse campus is to fostering a meaningful living and learning experience. I am thrilled that the Fifth Circuit has upheld the principles of diversity in higher education."  

While our country has made tremendous progress, race continues to play an unfortunate, but significant role in determining the educational outcomes of many children of color. This decision affirms that colleges and universities can use a variety of legal means to achieve a racially diverse and academically qualified student body. Flagship public institutions like UT Austin have a special responsibility to ensure that pathways to leadership remain open to all students. LDF will continue to fight to ensure meaningful access to higher education for all students.###

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the country's first and foremost civil and human rights law firm.  Founded in 1940 under the leadership of Thurgood Marshall, LDF's mission has always been transformative: to achieve racial justice, equality, and an inclusive society. LDF's victories established the foundations for the civil rights that all Americans enjoy today.  In its first two decades, LDF undertook a coordinated legal assault against officially enforced public school segregation.  This campaign culminated in Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision in 1954, a unanimous decision overturned the "separate but equal" doctrine of legally sanctioned discrimination, widely known as Jim Crow.
We have been a separate organization from the NAACP since 1957. Please refer to us as "LDF." ###

This is the 105th Anniversary Year for the NAACP.  She is the Founding Mother of all the Black Civil Rights Organizations, with the Urban League her younger sister celebrating 103 years.  I have heard disparaging remarks, primarily from those of our younger generations questioning the relevance of these organizations.  However, they have yet to show anything they themselves have accomplished that has had as broad a generative effect for the millions of Black people here in the US who, without their efforts, would still be facing Jim Crow, inequalities in the work place, schools, housing and other essential environs.   As a former member of the NAACP Youth Council, which had programs for children in elementary school, we learned, first hand, how to be proactive in our communities.  I would be wonderful to see those programs flourish once again, so that our youth and young adults no longer have the disconnect in the urban communities from all that is being done in their behalf.

Again, Kudos to the NAACP and LDF for a job well done - one of so many.  

And to my brothers and sisters who are reading this:  Now that you know, what will you do to help?
Stay Blessed & 
Gloria Dulan-Wilson

NAACP Legal Defense Fund | 40 Rector Street, 5th Floor | New York | NY | 10006


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