'Critical Mass' Key To Affirmative Action Case

Monday, October 8, 2012

Walking across the South Mall, or scanning the football stadium's 100,000 seats on game day, University of Texas admissions director Kedra Ishop sees how much has changed since the 1990s, when she was a black student at what was an inordinately white school.

This giant flagship campus โ€” once so slow to integrate โ€” is now awash in color, among the most diverse in the country if not the world. The student body, like Texas, is majority-minority.

At the dining hall, minority students no longer cluster together. Actually, it's more a high-end food court now, and many tables are racial mosaics โ€” white, black, Hispanic, Asian.

So is this the "critical mass" of minority students that the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly endorsed in 2003 as an educational goal important enough to allow colleges to factor the race of applicants into admissions decisions?

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