April 19, 2002

Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante Calls For Change in UC Graduate Admissions Policies

DAVIS — Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante called on the UC regents to implement the same admission standards for students applying to graduate programs and professional schools that are now in place for undergraduate freshman students. Bustamante is sponsoring Assembly Concurrent Resolution 178, which asks the UC Regents to stop using standardized test scores as the sole criteria for admission to graduate schools, (masters and Ph.D. programs) and professional schools including law, medical and business schools.

“UC graduate and professional schools belong to all California taxpayers. It’s vital to the future economic growth of the State of California that equal educational opportunities be available to all students who want to pursue careers in law, business and medicine,” Bustamante said.

Despite the increasing diversity in California, the number of underrepresented people of color being admitted to UC graduate programs and professional schools is down dramatically. For example, from the fall of 1994 to the fall of 2001, the number of Latinos admitted to law schools at UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UCLA declined by 33%. Furthermore, in the fall of 2001, only 57 Latino students were enrolled at all three law schools.

African-American students fared even worse. During the same time period, the number of African-American students admitted to the same three law schools declined by 55%. Only 28 African-American students were currently enrolled at the three law schools as of last fall.

“The low rates of underrepresented students of color in the UC graduate and professional schools are completely unacceptable,” added Assemblymember Manny Diaz, author of the resolution. “We aim to promote system-wide changes to create more equitable UC graduate admissions policies that will create greater access to students of color.”

“This plan completely complies with the guidelines of Proposition 209, and no one gets an unfair preference. What we’re attempting to do is look at the complete student, including life experiences, commitment to public service and academic performance,” said Bustamante.

ACR 178 requests that the University of California implement a “comprehensive review” or holistic approach in the admissions process used in its graduate and professional school programs. This would include the consideration of a broader variety of academic and personal qualifications.

Last year, the state of Texas approved legislation to broaden its admissions criteria to include more important factors and prevent standardized test scores from being used as the sole criteria for admission into graduate and professional schools.

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