The University of California wants to return to the days of race-based admissions.
The UC Regents voted unanimously Monday to restore affirmative action for the sake of attaining a “diverse” student body and to support ACA 5, which would void the Proposition 209 ban on race and gender preferences in state college admission, employment and public contracting.
ACA 5 was approved by the Assembly last week on a vote of 60-14 last week. If approved by the two thirds of the Senate by June 25, it would go on the ballot in November.
“There is amazing momentum for righting the wrongs caused by centuries of systemic racism in our country. The UC Board of Regents’ votes to endorse ACA 5 and to repeal Proposition 209 plays a part in that effort,” said UC Board Chairman John Perez, and former Assembly Speaker. “As we continue to explore all the University’s opportunities for action, I am proud UC endorsed giving California voters the chance to erase a stain, support opportunity and equality, and repeal Proposition 209.”
The Regents said in a statement that the University of California “has long been committed to creating and maintaining a student body that reflects California’s laudable cultural, racial, geographic and socioeconomic diversity. However, Proposition 209 has challenged the University’s ardent efforts to be equitable and inclusive as it seeks to attract the best and brightest students from all backgrounds, while ensuring equal opportunity for all.”
Explaining the vote UC President Janet Napolitano said that “it makes little sense to exclude any consideration of race in admissions when the aim of the University’s holistic process is to fully understand and evaluate each applicant through multiple dimensions. Proposition 209 has forced California public institutions to try to address racial inequality without factoring in race, even where allowed by federal law. The diversity of our university and higher education institutions across California, should — and must — represent the rich diversity of our state.”
After Proposition 209 was enacted the University of California tries to insure greater “diversity” among students with outreach efforts intended to benefit minorities without explicitly considering race so they could stay within confines of the law. For example, in 2001 the UC started guaranteeing admission to any student who ranked in the top nine percent at his or her high school.
They also adopted a “holistic” approach to admissions–considering more than just grades and aptitude test. In addition to that the students socioeconomic background was considered as well as their ability to overcome challenges.
But Napolitano’s office said in a memo prepared for the vote that these efforts have not achieved the desired results.
“Despite these policy changes and programmatic efforts, UC has not kept pace with the diversity of students in California K-12 schools or with the overall California population.”
Before Proposition 209, “the proportion of freshmen from underrepresented groups (URG) averaged 19 to 20 percent, then dropped to 15 percent in 1998 then slowly increased over the next 20 years, reaching a peak at 37 percent in 2016—an increase that can be attributed to the increase in enrollment across all UC undergraduate campuses. Meanwhile, the percentage of URG students graduating from high school has nearly doubled to over 56 percent in 2016.”
The University defines underrepresented groups as Black, Latino, Pacific Islander or American Indians.
The Regent’s action is their latest beating the drum for diversity.
In May the Regents voted to stop considering SAT and ACT tests for admission because they are supposedly unfair to minorities.
“These tests are extremely flawed and very unfair,” said Lieutenant Governor and Board of Regents member Eleni Kounalakis. “Enough is enough.”