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UT System To Launch System-Wide Admissions Review
Updated: Wednesday, June 25 2014, 06:36 PM CDT
It's the last day of orientation for thousands of University of Texas freshman. But for these students, the hardest part is getting through the door.
"It is hard, very hard, difficult," says freshman Yoriko Roby.
But according to a UT admissions inquiry it appears that a disproportionately high number of applicants who received letters of recommendation from Texas legislators were admitted.
The inquiry used a sample of sixteen students from the school of law and 63 undergraduate students.
The inquiry says "the letters of concern are those that are sent directly to the president or a dean and are outside the prescribed application and recommendation process."
"It undermines equal opportunity for everybody, clearly," says Jim Harrington, the director of the Texas Civil Rights Project.
He says it goes deeper than just showing what critics call "secret favoritism" in the admission process.
"You have this whole thing going on in the back ground, it's not just who you know but how you know that person," says Harrington.
The inquiry doesn't name who wrote the letters of recommendation or their connection to the students.
It also found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of UT Austin.
But Harrington calls it troubling, "I believe all you have to do is if you have a son or daughter that you want to go to law school is make a nice contribution to the political campaign of that representative or senator and then you have the ability to put pressure on that person."