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Admissions Policy at UCLA

March 06, 1987

I read with interest Alleyne's article on UC admissions policies. As an Asian-American, I am genuinely concerned with UC's move from an objective to a more subjective standard for admissions. We understand and appreciate the need for a more enlightened admissions policy toward blacks and Latinos, and we do not advocate a shift away from this policy. Our concern is what we perceive as the rise of a new and subtle form of discrimination against the Asian-Americans, in an effort to limit the enrollment of Asian-Americans at various UC campuses. As we all know, there is significant room for abuse and unfairness in any admissions policy that is subjective.

An admissions policy based on the evaluation of a candidate as a whole person sounds fine in principle. What admissions officers often fail to understand is that there are strong cultural differences in the values and the desirable qualities that make up a whole person. A large proportion of the Asian-Americans applying to UC are either first- or second-generation Americans, and to judge them using subjective white-society criteria would be grossly unfair. How many of UC's admissions officers are Asian-Americans?

What Asian-Americans strongly feel is that we have learned how to play the game by the rules of the white society. Now that we have become somewhat proficient, someone would like to change the rules of the game.

The Ivy League schools and Stanford all use fairly subjective admissions criteria, and as a result the Asian-Americans have not fared as well in getting admitted to these institutions. However, able Asian-American students in the past can always be assured of a place in UC. The former UC admissions policy may be far from perfect, but at least there was little bias against Asian-Americans.

We are not asking for any special favors, but we do want a fair, equitable and clearly defined UC admissions policy that does not discriminate against the Asian-Americans.

C.C. SHIH

Torrance

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