Statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin ruling

June 23, 2016

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court released its opinion in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (2016) and held that the use of race in admissions decisions to achieve the benefits of a diverse student body is lawful under the Equal Protection Clause.

The 4-3 decision upholds UT Austin’s race-conscious admissions policy and reaffirms the court’s prior rulings regarding the use of race in admissions.

Initial analysis by UW–Madison indicates that its admissions processes and practices are consistent with the court’s ruling.

When making decisions involving admission to undergraduate, graduate and professional schools, UW–Madison performs a comprehensive or “holistic” review of an applicant’s entire record. While academic credentials are the most important factor, the university also considers a range of other factors including an applicant’s essay, extracurricular activities, talents, community service, and leadership.

As part of this process, race and ethnicity are also considered. Consideration of these factors is important to achieve the educational benefits that come with a diverse student body, such as students who are prepared for an increasingly diverse workforce, promotion of better cultural understanding among individuals of different identities, and better learning outcomes. No student is accepted solely on the basis of any non-academic factor.

“We are committed to a diverse and inclusive university because of the educational benefits that come from such diversity,” says Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “Our commitment enhances our academic mission, provides a wealth of experiences and viewpoints for our students, and improves the overall quality of our university.”