University of Georgia Continues To Retool Admissions Policy
But still no consideration of raceATHENS, Ga.
The University of Georgia’s fall 2003 admissions policy will emphasize applicants’ academic achievement, with some modifications from the fall 2002 process, according to UGA officials. But the new policy still will not consider race.
Last year, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled that UGA’s admissions policy was unconstitutional. In response to that ruling, the school instituted a temporary policy that eliminated any consideration of race, gender, country of origin or relationship to Georgia alumni.
The admissions overhaul comes after years of lawsuits by White women who argued they would have been admitted if they were Black or men. The school is predominantly female and favored male applicants for several years.
This fall’s freshman class of about 4,300 was admitted on the basis of the interim formula that combined high school grades with standardized test scores.
Applicants for the 2003 freshman class will be placed into three groups: academically superior, academically competitive and not competitive. There will be no accounting for race. The former admissions plan gave some borderline students a slight boost if they weren’t White.
A longer application form is planned, giving students more room for essays and for a new requirement, a teacher recommendation.
Most freshmen, about 75 percent to 80 percent of the class, will be admitted based on test scores and high school grades alone, school spokesman Tom Jackson said in a statement.
Students placed in the not-competitive group will get a second reading by faculty reviewers to see whether an “exceptional circumstance” should let the student in, based on essays, community service and recommendations.
According to the university’s statement, further evaluation of the “academically competitive” group then will be used to complete the class, with an eye toward students who exhibit characteristics such as intellectual curiosity, integrity, personal maturity, creativity, commitment to service and citizenship, ability to overcome hardship and respect for cultural differences.
“Critical to this admission process is that each application file will have a full academic review, and any file facing denial will have at least two reviews before a decision is final,” says Delmer D. Dunn, vice president for instruction.
Around the country, federal appeals courts have reached conflicting decisions in recent years on affirmative action in admissions.
In a closely watched case that could ultimately go to the U.S. Supreme Court, a sharply divided federal appeals court in May upheld the use of race in admissions at the University of Michigan law school (see Black Issues, June 6, 2002).
In 1996, a federal appeals court ruling led the University of Texas law school to stop considering race in admissions. Other appeals courts have upheld the University of Washington law school’s race-conscious admissions policy.
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