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UC Regents and Affirmative Action

July 31, 1996

* "Affirmative Action Ban Still Divides UC" (July 21) fails to state the main reason for the divisiveness, namely that the affirmative action ban is a direct attack on a philosophy that is entrenched in our universities. This philosophy is one of collectivism, and it holds that individuals are to be valued for their race, class or gender. It repudiates individualism, the philosophy upon which the U.S. was founded.

The upheaval in the UC system is only the first encouraging sign that a bankrupt, immoral and anti-reason intellectual infrastructure will eventually be replaced. While the professors and administrators assert that to ignore race is racist, the regents work to bring about the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that one day all men will "not be judged by color of their skin, but by the content of their character."

ED NOWAK

Arcadia

*

* I write as chair of the Academic Council of the University of California to express my distress over your article. The issues discussed are complex and call for an appreciation of the diversity of views found on our campuses.

Both the university at large and individual campuses remain vigorous places at which very effective leadership helps provide a context for excellence in research and teaching, this in the face of continuing economic struggles.

President Richard Atkinson has been a vigorous participant in the processes of shared governance and enjoys the respect of the faculty. He came to the position of president during a period of upheaval related to the regents' actions on affirmative action. He has appreciated a wide range of views on affirmative action and shared governance. At the statewide Academic Senate level, Atkinson has the support of faculty leaders, a fact hardly gleaned from this article.

ARNOLD L. LEIMAN

Oakland

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* Re "A Minority Within a Minority," Commentary, July 19:

Richard L. Russell Jr. performs a public service by exposing another level of Ward Connerly's duplicity. Fronting for the governor in the campaign to pass the "California Civil Rights Initiative" and as a self-proclaimed promoter for fairness to whites and Asians, Connerly is the consummate Uncle Tom.

If he and Gov. Pete Wilson could convince a majority of the UC Board of Regents that equal opportunity exists in California, the electorate should, indeed, reexamine the method by which the regents are chosen.

CECIL MEALEY

Sun City

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* Russell writes that the UC eligibility rate for high school graduates of Asian descent is 32.4%, for whites 12.7%, for blacks 5.1% and for Latinos 3.9%. Then he uses these numbers to argue that the current system for affirmative action should be kept in place.

A better argument is that because Asians are doing so much better than everyone else, their methods should be studied and then emulated. If the high schools are not preparing our children equally well, then we need to find out why and do something about it. A meritocracy is a lot more sensible than the current racial spoils system.

GEORGE RAYMOND TYNDALL

Los Angeles

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