Affirmative Action and the UCs

Update (11/16/2020): with Prop 16 defeated, Prop 209 remains in effect (“the state cannot discriminate against or grant preferential treatment on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, and public contracting”).


According to LA Times (via KTLA) and Daily Cal (UC Berkeley student newspaper), the UC Regents approved a policy that prohibits the use of racial (and gender?) quotas in admissions, hiring, and contracting during a meeting on Thursday (9/17/2020). Before you get too excited, this is a ban already in place based on a previous ruling from the Supreme Court (so it’s not like the UCs could use racial quotas even if they wanted to).

LA Times seems to interpret this move as the Regents intending to “limit how they would restore affirmative action if state voters approve its use again.” That’s not surprising, given that the Regents got rid of consideration of race, religion, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin as criteria for admission ONE YEAR BEFORE PROP 209 PASSED (it was rescinded after passage of Prop 209).

Is this confusing? You bet (Napolitano famously said “While not necessarily a one-to-one match, we would come closer to looking like the population of students we should be educating” in an interview). Is this good? Who knows. But I would expect the UC admissions process to be business as usual regardless of whether Prop 209 gets repealed (the Regents can always just pass something internal to ban the use of race for admission consideration LIKE THEY DID IN 1995).


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