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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Attacks on higher education are dangerous

Illustration+by+DJ+Ross
Illustration by DJ Ross

On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court voted that race-conscious admissions in American public universities violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment. Conservative leaders, such as Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, quickly released statements celebrating that white students, who already make up the largest percentage of students at America’s elite universities, are no longer being discriminated against in college admissions. 

Students for Fair Admissions V Harvard, much like the infamous Dobbs decision, did not come out of the blue. Instead, it is the end result of a much larger right wing campaign against supposedly liberal institutions. One can go all the way back to 2003 to see former President George W. Bush declare affirmative action to be unconstitutional

Texas Republicans have long been opposed to race-conscious admissions in public universities, with both Texas senators petitioning the Supreme Court last year to end affirmative action. Yet only one public college in Texas actually used race-conscious admissions -The University of Texas at Austin (UT). 

UT, which has only around 40,000 of the over one million college students in Texas, was forced to drop their affirmative action policy after the Supreme Court decision. This trend of only the most select of schools practicing racial affirmative action is found nationally too, with the Associated Press reporting that affirmative action was only most present at extremely selective elite universities such as Harvard, Yale or Princeton. 

The result of only highly elite universities practicing affirmative action was a menagerie of right wing legislation nationwide limiting how public universities can operate. 

Greg Abbott, long-time critic of “woke” academic institutions, signed a law on June 6 that abolished all diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs in Texas public colleges. He then followed that up on June 16 with the signing of equally vile bills. Texas House Bills 900 and 1605 combined give parents the power to “remove inappropriate books from school libraries” and to “access and review instructional materials”.

At this point, one might ask, ‘What is the purpose of these attacks against our academic institutions?’ After all, we should be encouraging academic freedom as a means to stimulate innovation.

Thus, as we ring in a new school year, it is our duty as students to not allow our institutions to become intimidated by these attacks. If the long march of history has shown us anything, it is that conservative reactions to real progressive social change will always lose in the end.

– James Phillips is an international relations junior

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