The Asian American Center for Advancing Justice – the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), the Asian American Institute (AAI), the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), and the Asian Law Caucus (ALC) – and a diverse group of more than 50 Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations and individuals released on October 4th a position statement in support of expanding educational opportunity and the continued need for affirmative action programs.
The organizations and individuals have signed on to the position statement in advance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s October 10, 2012 hearing in the case Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, which will determine whether the University of Texas-Austin’s use of race as one of many factors in its holistic review of 25 percent of its total admissions pool is constitutional.
The signatories to the position statement stand together in support of programs, like the one at University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) that expand educational opportunity based on the following six broad principles:
- Asian Americans and Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI) have benefited from affirmative action and diversity programs.
- Diversity and affirmative action programs provide equal educational access to all AAPIs students.
- A truly integrated learning environment enhances students’ educational experiences and better prepares them for success in our increasingly diverse and multiracial society.
- A holistic review provides the best indication of merit.
- Students of all races would benefit from an expansion of the public higher education system.
- Quotas and discrimination against AAPIs are unacceptable.
“We acknowledge the role diversity, affirmative action and anti-discrimination programs have played – and continue to play – in expanding opportunity for Asian Americans and other communities of color,” said APALC President and Executive Director Stewart Kwoh. “Without these programs, youth from minority communities – including AAPI communities – would be left behind without equal access to educational resources. We in the AAPI communities cannot turn our back on them, and must stand with other minority communities to expand educational resources.”
Last month, Advancing Justice together with more than 70 other Asian American organizations filed an amicus brief in the Fisher case in support of admissions programs in higher education like the one at UT Austin, which in addition to academic qualifications considers a range of factors, including racial diversity in choosing qualified candidates. Like the organizations that signed on to this amicus brief, the signatories to the position statement support affirmative action programs as a means to provide talented students of all backgrounds who have overcome barriers the opportunities afforded by higher education, and to achieve the campus diversity that enriches all students’ educational experiences.
To read the position statement and see a list of signatories, go to: https://archive.advancingjustice.org/sites/default/files/2012_09_Fisher_Position_Statement_Release.pdf