The University of Oklahoma does not use race as a specific criteria in admissions and is committed to equal opportunity and fair treatment for all applicants. It is unfortunate that — prior to a state question being submitted to voters on this very important topic — a Washington group would release a report asserting racial preferences without even contacting the university to inquire into its admissions processes. Had we been contacted, we might have been able to clarify items that seem to be misunderstood by those who prepared the report.
OU relies on outreach and recruiting efforts to reach underserved populations. During the time frame considered in the report, undergraduate admission at OU was based on certain published, objective minimum criteria (i.e. ACT score, GPA and class rank). Importantly, no undergraduate student meeting the minimum admission standards has been denied admission to OU as a result of his or her race.
Admission to OU's professional schools is similar in that race is not a specific factor in the admission process; admission is primarily based on objective criteria such as GPA and standardized test scores. By their nature and educational mandate, professional schools throughout the state and country screen applications to select those students best able to succeed in the profession. Therefore, as required by their accrediting bodies, professional school admissions processes are necessarily more holistic — including consideration of such factors as writing ability, personal history (e.g. work experience, volunteerism, personal challenges etc.), and — in the case of the medical school — both blind reviews and in person interviews.
The university takes seriously its admissions process and complies with all current state and federal laws. If those directives change when the U.S. Supreme Court decides Fisher v. The University of Texas at Austin, the university will make any changes necessary to ensure continued compliance with the law.
Gollahalli is vice president and general counsel at the University of Oklahoma.