Lawmakers press A&M to change legacy policy

Fort Worth Star Telegram
DALLAS & STATE DIGEST
Wire Reports
AUSTIN

A group of angry state lawmakers implored Texas A&M University on Wednesday to change an admissions policy that gives preference to applicants whose parents or grandparents graduated from the school.

Representatives of state civil rights groups indicated that they would sue the school if the policy doesn’t change.

The school, which recently decided it would not consider race as a factor, last year admitted through its legacy program more than 300 students who would not have qualified otherwise.

“More students were admitted because Mom or Dad went to A&M than the total number of African-Americans admitted,” Gary Bledsoe, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said at a news conference.

Bledsoe called the admissions program “inherently discriminatory” because blacks did not attend Texas A&M until 1963, negating the “legacy” of many minority applicants.

“It clearly undermines the ability of minorities to be able to get the fruits of their labor,” Bledsoe said.

Despite the school’s refusal to consider race in admissions, A&M President Robert Gates has promised lawmakers that he would lead a charge to increase minority enrollment.

“As I indicated several weeks ago when I met with concerned legislators, the admissions process has been under review and will continue to be evaluated to ensure that it achieves one of the university’s primary objectives — that of having a student body that is more representative of the state of Texas,” Gates said in a statement released Wednesday.

A&M is the state’s only public school with a legacy program to boost alumni support.

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