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March 20, 1998
Re "Fewer Blacks and Latinos Admitted to 3 UC Schools," March 17: As a community college mathematics professor preparing students for university transfer, I have great interest in the UC admissions numbers. However, it seems to me that the reported "sharp declines" in African American and Latino admissions may not be worthy of front-page headlines. Taking UC Irvine, for example, it is true that the numbers show declines from 1997 to 1998 admissions among African Americans and Latinos of 18.8% and 8.6%, respectively, but the published data also shows an increase of 222% among applicants who "declined to state" their ethnicities.
March 2, 1998
Re "At UC, Proving the Critics Wrong," Feb. 23: I welcome UC Regents Chairman Meredith Khachigian's optimistic appraisal of the post-209 scenario for diversity at the University of California. However, the true test of the effects of the change in admissions practices will not be in the number of students applying to the university but the subsequent diversity on the campuses. Clearly, short-term changes in the number applying may have more to do with demographics, i.e., more students reaching pre-admission age. I believe the real trick has far less to do with whether minority students decide to enroll, should they be deemed qualified, but in what Khachigian rightly describes as the long-term concern: preparedness.
September 28, 1997 | MELANIE HAVENS, Melanie Havens is an attorney and a professor and chair of the Department of Business Law at Cal State Northridge
Controversy has swirled around the University of California's decision in the wake of Proposition 209 to end affirmative action in favor of entirely merit-based admissions. Opponents have challenged the university's use of merit-based testing--the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)--arguing that it excludes minorities. Should the university end the use of the SAT in determining admission?
September 25, 1997
Re "UC Urged to Drop SATs as Admission Criteria," Sept. 19: To eliminate SAT scores as an admissions criterion solely to raise the number of eligible Latino students is a travesty and an insult to Latinos. If an ESL student cannot translate fast enough to get the answers right, then he should improve his English skills. If Latinos aren't making the grade in other ways, then demand from them that they try harder. Challenge them and challenge your K-12 establishment to do better. California already offers more second chances than most places.
The recommendation that the University of California stop using SAT scores in admissions will undergo a rigorous review to ensure that standards at the state's premier higher education institution will not diminish, the chairman of an oversight committee said Friday.
August 7, 1997
Re "UC Affirmative Action Halt May Clash With U.S. Law," July 26: Your reporter seriously distorts an interview I had with him and misrepresents the position of the U.S. Department of Education in investigating a complaint that admissions practices of the University of California may be in violation of federal civil rights laws. The basic thrust of the article is to attribute to me the position that UC may have violated the law by dropping affirmative action and instead relying on test scores and grades as a basis for selecting new students.
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