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Someone's going to lose at UC

August 23, 2009

Re "Opening the door to trouble at UC?" Opinion, Aug. 18

Marc Haefele's Op-Ed article asserts that UC's changes in admission policy are ill-considered and unlikely to have the desired effect of increasing enrollment of blacks and Latinos. I do not have enough information to judge the validity of this point.

Yet I must question the basic assumptions underlying the essay. Haefele states: "But California must take care to not have the gains of one ethnic group come at the expense of another." This is complete nonsense. With a finite number of admissions, it is a mathematical truism that any process that increases black and Latino enrollment must necessarily decrease enrollment of one or more other ethnic groups. Once acknowledging this fact, we might agree that this is an inevitable and reasonable cost of increasing diversity. But I fear that Haefele believes that this is just if, and only if, it is Anglos whose proportion of enrollments decline.

Cyril Barnert

Brentwood

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Am I alone in questioning this "goal of having UC campuses that reflect the state's diversity"?

Is it really such a good thing that the UC student body be 15% Latino, 12% Asian, 11% black and whatever the percentage of whites the salami slicers deem appropriate these days? Would it be so terrible if 60% of UC's student body were Asians? Or even 100%? As long as they were the brightest students California had to offer, isn't that what really matters?

What if 60% or 100% of our brightest students were black? Somehow, I don't think the quota-mongers would find that such a bad thing. In fact, I would surmise they'd welcome that. And so would I, as long as they were the brightest students and deserved to be there. The sooner we get away from this "diversity" obsession, the closer we will be to what should be our real goal -- a merit-based, who-cares-what-race-you-are student body.

Carl Moore

Lomita

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Having a diverse student body is a compelling goal.

The use of quotas, however, to guarantee the admission to a UC school of every California student who graduates in the top 9% of his or her high school class in the lowest-performing secondary schools unfairly denies admission to candidates with higher academic achievement who fail to meet the quotas for their schools. A university should be a meritocracy. The UC admission program expresses contempt for achievement and promotes racism by fostering stereotypes that certain minority students are unable to compete academically. The policy is un-American, immoral and illegal.

Stuart Shelby

Santa Monica

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