Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

A Chill Across Two States

March 24, 1997

The dismantling of affirmative action programs at public university systems in California and Texas appears to be having a chilling effect. Applications from Latino and African American students are down significantly in both states. That could portend a long-term trend toward less diversity on these campuses and in education generally. In short, a big step backward.

The decline follows two developments: The Board of Regents of the University of California decided in 1995 to ban affirmative action in admissions, effective spring of 1998. However, last November's passage of Proposition 209, a statewide affirmative action ban for public hiring, education and contracting, could push the effective date up to this fall. Separately, a federal court ruled that race could not be used as an admission criterion in a case brought against the University of Texas Law School by four white students who claimed they were not admitted because minorities received preferential treatment.

Following these developments, minority applicants to the University of California system fell--down 8.2% for blacks, 3.7% for Latinos and 9% for American Indians--while overall a record number of students applied. Total applicants at the University of Texas fell 13% but was down 26% for blacks and 23% for Latino applicants. Those numbers can be interpreted as suggesting an unwelcome atmosphere on campus.

Amid this decline in California comes UC Regent Ward Connerly, champion of the affirmative action ban, with a new proposal, this time to eliminate names on applications to avoid inadvertent bias. That seems absurd considering that only 250 African Americans and 790 Latinos were among the 3,523 members of UCLA's 1995 freshman class. Where's the bias?

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|