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Effects of Passage of Prop. 209

November 17, 1996

Re "UCLA Students Feel Tensions of Proposition 209," Nov. 10:

As a graduate of both UCLA in 1986 and UC Hastings College of the Law in 1994, I am very happy to learn that Prop. 209 will have an immediate impact on the UC admissions process. I have long believed that all applicants to the UC system should be treated strictly as individuals rather than representatives of competing ethnic and gender groups.

The UC admissions policies that I encountered as a student had the effect of rewarding some people for their gender or ethnicity while punishing others for theirs. For every applicant who was helped by affirmative action there was another applicant who was harmed by it.

In addition to skewing the admissions process, the UC's affirmative action system also contributed to dividing students along racial lines. Many white and Asian students resented the fact that they might have been held to a higher academic admissions standard than other students. Many African American and Latino students felt that they were unfairly stigmatized as being under-qualified recipients of affirmative action's largess.

An admissions process that is gender- and race-blind will be fair to all UC applicants. Those who succeed in gaining entry to these schools will know that they have won a fair academic competition based purely on their own hard work. This type of admissions process will be a vast improvement to the UC system.

ROBERT SHANNON

Hong Kong

* Prop. 209 was passed with more than 4.7 million yes votes, yet scarcely had the last vote been counted before its opponents had mounted a court challenge to overturn the electoral mandate. The action is similar to that taken following the passage of Prop. 187, viz., when an election does not support your point of view, use the judiciary to bypass the voting results. Is it not strange that those who turn to the courts to nullify an election outcome are so often the same people who bemoan the declining voter turnout each year?

WILLIAM S. LaSOR JR.

Trabuco Canyon

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