AUSTIN, TX- One Texas university is under fire after allegedly denying a student admission based solely on her race.
As lawyers for the University of Texas in Austin headed to court Wednesday morning, NewsChannel 10 went to find out if Texas colleges have the ability to use what some call "racial discrimination" for admission.
Out of four public universities in Texas we placed phone calls into Wednesday, none would admit whether they've ever used race as a determining factor to accept or deny students. In the end, it all boils down to what the law says is legal.
In 2008, Abigail Fisher filed a lawsuit against UT Austin, claiming she was denied undergraduate admission because of her race.
"I hope the court rules that a students race and ethnicity should not be considered when applying to the university of Texas," Fisher said.
You may be surprised to find out the practice is legal, at least in Texas.
"Every institution has its own goals," Dan Garcia with West Texas A&M's enrollment services department said. "Over time, there have been instances where we've been able to say 'here is the criteria for admission and here is how we want to shape our class.'"
Garcia adds the debate over whether race should be a determining factor in admission has been on the radar for years.
"We've been told you can't use race as a factor in admissions and then that changed, giving the institutions to use it if they felt like they felt it was necessary for purposes of diversity in admissions and scholarships."
The pressure to do so may be coming from policies like Vision 2020, an act designed to even out the genetic makeup of college students. At WTAMU, they use an initiative called "Closing the Gaps," a policy designed to promote diversity. However, WT denies any claims it has ever based admission on race.
"At West Texas A&M, we have so much room for growth that if an eligible student applies, we don't take into consideration any other factors beyond their academic credentials."
It's a policy WTAMU students agree with.
"Everyone should have the chance at success, sophomore Tory Brown said. "Just because of your race, color, ethnicity or sex, you shouldn't get denied an education."
A ruling in the case of Abigail Fisher vs. UT Austin is projected to come in sometime next year.