on Sat, Jan. 10, 2004
Fort Worth Star Telegram
Texas A&M will drop legacy
The Associated Press
COLLEGE STATION – Texas A&M University’s president
said Friday that the school will no longer give preference to applicants whose parents or grandparents
A group of state lawmakers criticized the legacy program Wednesday, and
representatives of state civil rights groups indicated that they would sue the school if the policy
A&M President Robert Gates told The Associated Press that the threat of
litigation played no role in his decision to eliminate the policy immediately, although criticism was a
factor in the timing.
“What I’ve seen in the media this week certainly reinforced the
belief that I had to act quickly,” Gates said. “But I’d say the train was already out of the
Gates said that he initially believed the university had more time to deal
with the legacy program, which was recognized in November as a problem, and that he takes full
responsibility for any negative publicity for A&M.
Gates said that the policy played
less of a role in admissions than many believed and that university officials would continue to
encourage students from Aggie families to apply.
“But, after consultation with each of
the Texas A&M University System regents, I have decided that, effective immediately, Texas A&M will no
longer award points for legacy in the admissions review process,” he said in a
Prior affiliation with the university should not be part of an admissions
process based on individual merit and potential contribution, he said.
leaders had also said it was time to revoke the policy, which had been a formal part of admissions
Typically, anywhere from 1,650 to more than 2,000 applicants a year received
legacy points, usually four points on a 100-point scale that also takes into account such factors as
class rank, test scores, extracurricular activities and community service.
acknowledged last year that more than 300 students were accepted through the legacy program who would
not have qualified otherwise. The president of the state National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People called the program discriminatory because blacks did not attend Texas A&M until 1963,
making minority applicants less likely to have parents or grandparents who graduated from
Last fall, 82 percent of A&M’s undergraduates were Anglo, 2 percent were black, 9
percent were Hispanic, and 3 percent were Asian-American.
Gates has promised lawmakers
that he will lead a charge to increase minority enrollment. Gates said he had intended that the legacy
program be addressed in a review of admissions policy.
A&M was the state’s only public
school with a legacy program to boost alumni support.
Meanwhile, the University of Texas
at Austin is considering an admissions policy that would include race as a factor in selecting students
in an effort to boost minority enrollment — a move allowed by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in