As Fox Business reports, “The number one most diverse public university in the country is UC Davis, where 30,066 undergraduates are enrolled at a diversity index rate of 77.64.” The diversity index is “a continuum that ranges from 0 (no diversity) to 100 (complete diversity), where an area’s index tends toward 100 when the population is more evenly divided across race and ethnic groups.”
At UC Davis, according to the ratings, “Asian and Hispanic students account for half of the student body, with the school having one of the highest percent of international students in the entire country.” UCLA comes second, UC Santa Barbara fourth, UC San Diego sixth, UC Berkeley ninth, and UC Irvine tenth. These rankings have profound implications for California.
During the 1970s, UC Davis rejected highly qualified Allan Bakke from medical school and the entire UC system admitted students on the basis of race and ethnicity. That ended in 1996, when California voters approved Proposition 209, the California Civil Rights Initiative, which banned racial and ethnic preferences in state education, employment and contracting.
Defenders of racial preferences claimed that Proposition 209 would be the end of minority representation and UC president Janet Napolitano called the measure a “legal barrier” to “diversity.” With six University of California campuses in the diversity top ten, those fears prove unfounded, and there’s more to the story.
As Hoover Institution scholar Thomas Sowell noted in Intellectuals and Race, after Proposition 209 there were major declines in minority enrollment at Berkeley and UCLA, but these were almost completely offset by increases in the number of minority students at other UC campuses. More important, there was an increase in the number of black and Hispanic students graduating from the UC system, including an increase of 55 percent in the number graduating in four years, plus an increase of 63 percent in the number graduating in four years with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.
After Proposition 209, Sowell also shows, the number of black and Hispanic students graduating with degrees in science, technology, mathematics and engineering rose by 51 percent. The number of doctorates earned by black and Hispanic students in the UC system rose by 25 percent after voters banned racial preferences. On the other hand, certain ethnic biases remain.
Like other UC schools, number one-ranked UC Davis offers Chicano Studies, about those with ancestry on the Iberian Peninsula of Europe. There is no similar program of Scottish Studies or Irish Studies. Diversity bureaucrats take account of Pacific Islanders but not Atlantic Islanders, an ancestry that would include many UC students.
The notion that all students must be represented according to their percentage of the population is not state law, nor part of the state or national Constitution. Diversity dogma fails to account for personal differences, effort and choice. As Thomas Sowell has often noted, statistical disparities between groups and individuals are the rule, not the exception. Diversity champ UC Davis, meanwhile, has recently been in the news on other fronts.
Back in January, police officer Natalie Corona was murdered in Davis. As students discovered, UC Davis professor Joshua Clover was on record that cops “need to be killed” and “it’s easier to shoot cops when their backs are turned.” The UC Davis administration found the statements “unconscionable” but made no move to fire the leftist Clover. Conservative professors, by contrast, get fired for advocating the U.S. Constitution.
Keith Fink won three consecutive national debating championships for UCLA and returned to the campus as a professor. Students packed out his classes on the First Amendment and he encouraged students to exercise their rights on campus. That drew the ire of Jerry Kang, UCLA’s Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and despite the protests of loyal students, UCLA fired Fink in 2017.
The conservative Fink says UCLA has “contempt for free speech in general, and students’ rights overall.” Yet, this same campus ranks number two in “diversity.”