East Texas Students React to Affirmative Action

Opinions flew freely earlier this week when U.S. Supreme Court justices heard both sides of the University of Michigan affirmative action debate. Three students filed suit against the university, saying its acceptance guidelines discriminate against white students.

While the national debate over affirmative action has caused university officials to stand up and take notice, the issue hasn't halted UT-Tyler's quest for diversity. The school's minority enrollment has jumped 5 percent in four years. However, Dean of Enrollment Jim Hutto says more diversity is desired.

"Yes, we have goals to attract more minority students from underrepresented schools," says Hutto. "We would like to have many students from those schools."But it doesn't play itself out in the admissions process. It plays itself out in the recruitment process."

Hutto says applicants are judged solely on grades and test scores. It's a process many students prefer.

"It's kind of getting to a point where affirmative action is getting somewhat out of hand," says freshman Leroy Jones. "There definitely needs to be an equal balance between those that are less fortunate, as well as those that qualify."

The U.S. Supreme Court has the task of qualifying or disqualifying the University of Michigan recruiting guidelines. The school judges applicants on a 150 point scale, with some students getting up to 20 points for being an underrepresented socio-economic class or minority.

"It may be a little unconstitutional and a little biased toward mainstream America, says junior Stephine Reagh. "And maybe a little condescending toward underrepresented groups in assuming they can't earn those points on their own."

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case this summer.