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Tech regents expected to add race,
ethnicity factors to law school admissions


October 22, 2004

Texas Tech regents are set today to add race and ethnicity as factors in admission to the university's School of Law.

The move echoes a year-old decision to add those criteria to the university's admissions policy.

Should regents approve the policy change, Tech's law school will weigh race and ethnicity alongside 11 other factors to be considered in addition to graduate work, writing samples, letters of recommendation and other criteria.

"It's called a holistic approach," said Tech President Jon Whitmore. "You don't just look at one or two items ... you look at a whole list of things."

Factors already considered include an applicant's socioeconomic background, bilingual proficiency, region of residence and involvement in extracurricular and community activities.

Tech added race to its admissions policy in October 2003 after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of universities to consider race to help diversify student populations.

The law school began analyzing its own policy after Tech changed its admissions practice, said School of Law Dean Walt Huffman.

"We waited for the university to decide how it was going to implement (the policy)," he said, adding that the two entities try to maintain consistency even though their admissions are handled separately.

The Board of Regents' Academic, Clinical and Student Affairs Committee approved the policy change Thursday. It will go before the full board today.

Huffman said the new practice will not go into effect until a year after it has been published.

In other business, regents should approve a new master of science in agricultural communications and doctor of philosophy in systems and engineering management.

Regent E.R. "Dick" Brooks and his wife, Martha, also will establish a $500,000 professorship in the department of mathematics and statistics at 3 p.m. today in the Tech Visitor Center.

The endowment the first professorship endowment created in the department is one of several established under the Regents Faculty Endowment Program and will allow the department to recruit a nationally known faculty member to the university, according to a statement released by Tech.