Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
Wednesday, January 7, 2004
Contact: Mike Lavigne, (512) 463-0113

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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