Affirmative action gets first Supreme Court hearing since 2003

Abigail Fisher was one of the more than 17,000 high-school seniors from around the country who were rejected when they applied to the University of Texas in 2008. In an argument to be heard next week by the U.S. Supreme Court, Fisher argues the university turned her down because she is white, Stateline reports. If the Supreme Court agrees with Fisher, it could spell the end to affirmative action programs across the country that provide some advantage to applicants from underrepresented minorities. At issue is whether Fisher’s “equal protection” under the 14th amendment was violated by the university’s consideration of the race of some of its applicants. Courts so far have found that it wasn’t, as both the 5th Circuit district and appeals courts ruled in favor of the University of Texas…

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Jerry Brown vetoes affirmative action-like bill

On Saturday, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed SB 185, an affirmative action-like bill that would have allowed public universities to consider factors including race, gender and ethnicity in the admissions process, according to The Daily Californian. SB 185 gained extensive public attention when the UC Berkeley group Berkeley College Republicans held an Increase Diversity Bake Sale protesting the bill. Currently, California admissions officers are unable to consider race, gender and ethnicity due to Proposition 209, passed in 1996. SB 185 would have overruled such practices…

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Open-source advocates: Academia, industry must play nice

Open-source software allows even students to contribute code.

Compromise between the Ivory Tower and industry, IT experts say, is the future of open-source technologies in higher education.

Mainstreaming open, collaborative technologies in colleges and universities will require a delicate balance of vendor involvement and experimentation among campus technology decision makers who are willing to stray from the technological old school.

Combining academic ideals with the prowess and resources of industry has become a reality already, as campus IT leaders move freely from one sector to the other—blending the best of academia and business to create software that is open for tinkering and supported with corporate capital.…Read More