The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Diversity: University of California Admissions Not Doing Its Part
Feature Story by Tyler Lewis - 8/2/2006This fall, only 96 of the more than 4,700 incoming freshman at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - a mere 2 percent - are African American.
All nine universities in the University of California (UC) system have similarly dismal enrollment figures for African-American freshman despite the implementation of admissions policies designed to achieve diversity in the wake of Proposition 209, according to a June report by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies.
Proposition 209, sponsored by California businessman and former UC regent Ward Connerly, was passed by California voters in 1996, banning affirmative action in the state.
The Bunche Center report found that African Americans represented only 3.4 percent of all freshmen offered admission to a UC school, despite an increase in the number of qualified African Americans and an overall increase in African-American applicants. UCLA is consistently ranked at the bottom of the nine schools regarding the number of admissions it extends to African Americans despite receiving the greatest number of African-American applications
"These figures are simply unacceptable," said Wade Henderson, executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR). "The University of California system is failing to address equal opportunity for minority students in a state that is among the most racially diverse. It's appalling."
The Alliance for Equal Opportunity in Education, a coalition of African-American religious leaders, alumni, civic and student leaders, has demanded "immediate and demonstrative actions" that would increase black enrollment. The coalition has called for a complete overhaul of UCLA's undergraduate admissions policies.
On July 16, the University of California system announced its decision to convene a panel of professors, administrators and other staff members that will examine the effects Proposition 209 has had on admissions policies in the system. The panel will be tasked with discerning the best way to work within the law to recruit more black and Latino students.
"We applaud the UC system for its decision to conduct a long overdue study of the impact of Proposition 209 on admissions," said LCCR's Henderson. "Affirmative action is a valuable tool in the fight against discrimination in higher education. This study will be useful in explaining how Proposition 209 has not achieved the parity that its proponents have said it would."
Many observers, including some UCLA officials, believe that Proposition 209 accounts for much of the decline in African-American admissions. Since Proposition 209 was passed in 1996, black enrollment at UCLA alone has dropped 57 percent.
The Bunche Center report states that while the affirmative action ban is a major reason for the decrease in black admissions, the disparities in California's K-12 system and a flawed UC system admissions policy are also major factors.
Affirmative action opponents, including Connerly, argue that blacks are not admitted to UC schools because they don't meet the standards for admission. However, the Bunche Center report found that the percentage of "UC-eligible" African Americans has nearly tripled since 1996.
In addition, many of the African American students rejected by the UC system have generally been accepted at more selective schools, like Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
Many students have stated that the effect that low minority admissions has on the climate for admitted minority students on UC campuses is a problem as well. UC Berkeley students at a November 2005 hearing told New America Media, the country's largest national collaboration of ethnic news organizations, that racism from students and faculty is rampant.