Texas university to appeal

ODESSA, Texas (AP) — The University of Texas will appeal a federal court ruling that ended affirmative action programs at Texas state colleges.
“The long-term social, cultural and economic vitality of Texas is irrevocably linked to its ability to recruit and graduate minority students,” university chancellor William Cunningham said Wednesday.
Attorney General Dan Morales today approved the school’s request for a private lawyer to conduct the appeal of the ruling in the case known as Hopwood. The school’s board of regents had unanimously approved the appeal Wednesday.
He said he disagreed with the university’s support of affirmative action and favors “race-neutral criteria” to select students, but decided “not to allow my objections to prevent the university from exercising its will in this instance,” Morales said.
The university has until Monday to bring its case before a federal court.
Texas dismantled affirmative action policies at state universities after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that a law school policy meant to boost minority enrollment discriminated against whites.
That ruling, named after Cheryl Hopwood, one of four plaintiffs who sued for admission into the school, was allowed to stand in 1996 by the U.S. Supreme Court.
The school cannot appeal the legality of its former affirmative action program, but will try to persuade the court that the ruling is unfair and harming the system’s ability to recruit students on a level playing field with colleges in other states.
“Right now, there’s one standard for Texas and a standard for all the other 49 states. We think that’s unfair,” said Donald Evans, board chairman.