Ellis, Barrientos, Dukes, Bledsoe, Harrington, & Others Call for Fairness at

Jan. 7, 2004
Press Release
From the

Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis
State Officials, Civil Rights Advocates
Call on

Texas A&M to Correct Admissions Policies

Austin, TX// Senators Rodney Ellis and Gonzalo

Barrientos were joined by State Representative Dawnna Dukes the NAACP, LULAC, MALDEF, and the Texas

Civil Rights project for a press conference on Wednesday focusing attention on the admissions situation

at Texas A&M University. The Houston Chronicle recently reported that Texas A&M, while refusing to

take race into consideration as an admission criterion, has the most active legacy admission program in

Texas.

“To continue the Legacy Program at A&M while removing race as a consideration

for admission, in my mind, further erodes the image of this fine institution at a time that it needs to

do more to attract minority students,” said Senator Gonzalo Barrientos.

Similar press

conferences with elected officials and civil rights advocates took place simultaneously in Houston and

San Antonio as well. Participants in the press conferences highlighted the discrepancy in minority vs

Anglo enrollment at Texas A&M as well as the gap in minority vs legacy

enrollment.

“More students were admitted because mom or dad went to A&M, than the total

number of African Americans admitted,” said NAACP President Gary Bledsoe. “The Texas A&M legacy

program is inherently discriminatory towards minorities, and based on nothing even resembling

merit.”

Texas A&M admitted 358 students last year through the legacy program. Of those,

only six were African American and 27 Hispanic.

Legacy admissions programs don’t just

hurt minorities seeking an education,” explained Senator Ellis, “this program is even bad for white

kids whose parents aren’t Aggies.”

All three press conferences in Texas focused on a

single theme: Texas A&M must change its admissions policies if it truly wishes to correct its minority

gap.

“As an alumnus of Texas A&M, I am truly disappointed that the University has

chosen to create an admissions policy that is contradictory to their stated goal of seeking to improve

minority admissions,” said Representative Dawnna Dukes. “Establishing scholarships for first

generation disadvantaged minority students, while giving preference to second and third generation

advantaged students is contradictory to an even-handed policy. An aggressive attempt to recruit

historically disadvantaged applicants is not achieved by giving historically advantaged applicants a

leg up. Such an admission policy cannot possibly increase minority student

enrollment.”

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