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U. of Texas Alumni Group Apologizes for Criticism of Justice Scalia

Texas Exes, an organization representing alumni of the University of Texas at Austin, has apologized for its criticism of inflammatory remarks that Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court made last week in hearing a challenge to race-conscious admissions on that campus.

Justice Scalia provoked widespread outrage by saying that “there are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans” to admit them “into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school … a slower-track school where they do well.”

Even researchers who support the idea that race-conscious admissions hurt some minority students by placing them at colleges where they will struggle distanced themselves from the justice’s clumsily worded distillation of that argument.

Texas Exes joined the chorus criticizing Justice Scalia’s remarks on social media:

Although its assessment was cheered by some, others accused the alumni group of being out of line. In response, Justice Jeffrey V. Brown of the Texas Supreme Court tweeted:

The responses from others included: “You aren’t legal analysts. Stick to your lane.” “This is way out of line. You do not speak for this member.” “Who wrote this, and how can I get him/her fired?”

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Antonio Garza, the alumni group’s president, formally apologized for its Twitter post about the Supreme Court justice. Mr. Garza, a lawyer and former U.S. ambassador to Mexico, wrote:

“As an alumni organization, we represent viewpoints as rich and diverse as the University of Texas student body. In all of our communications, we strive to build bridges, create understanding, and spark thoughtful, respectful dialogue amongst our alumni. Unfortunately, this past week, while seeking to inform alumni on Fisher v. University of Texas, we fell short of that goal.

“While the Texas Exes have taken no position as to the merits of that case, our intention when tweeting about Justice Scalia’s comments was to support our alumni, many of whom felt insulted by his line of inquiry during oral arguments. In our eagerness to defend our alumni, we deviated from our own standards when engaging in often-heated debate and overstepped our bounds, and for that we apologize.”

In closing his note, however, Mr. Garza added: “African-American and other students of diverse backgrounds do succeed at UT-Austin, and the legions of alumni who stepped up to highlight their academic success are testament to that. We will, of course, continue to unapologetically defend the quality of all our alumni and our university ’til Gabriel blows his horn!”

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