February 14, 2003

Assemblymember Manny Diaz, Speaker Herb J. Wesson Jr., and Other Leaders Call for Reform of UC Admissions Process as Minority Enrollment Drops

SACRAMENTO — Assembly-member Manny Diaz, Speaker Herb J. Wesson Jr., and California legislative leaders sent a letter to the University of California President, Richard Atkinson, urging the University to reform its postgraduate admissions policies, citing in particular the drastic decline of minorities admitted to law schools and other postgraduate programs in the UC system.

From the fall of 1994 to the Fall of 2001, the number of African Americans admitted to law schools at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UCLA has declined 55 percent from a total of 239 to 107. Latinos, African Americans, and various sectors of Asian-American student populations admitted to the University of California have shown a significant decline both across the board and at individual UC campuses.

“In the current national debate over the use of affirmative action, we are very concerned to see the glorification of the UC’s admissions policies as a model for a country to preserve a diverse student population despite the elimination of affirmative action. I am sending a letter supported by my colleagues urging the University of California and President Atkinson to reevaluate their admissions policies,” said Assemblymember Diaz (D-San Jose). “If in fact the University of California’s admissions policies are to be a model for the country, much work is still needed. Fundamental policy decisions that are fairer and more equitable for all students must be made.”

The California Legislative decisively approved Assembly Concurrent Resolution (ACR) 178 last August, which calls for the UC to review its admissions policies for graduate and professional schools and establish more fair and equitable admissions policies for all prospective students.

The California Legislature, through ACR 178, calls for the adoption of key recommendations to the University of California, which include the following:

 That the University implement a comprehensive approach in its admissions process for its graduate programs and professional schools, which would require the consideration of a broader variety of academic and personal qualifications.

 That the weight or value placed on each of the important factors shall be reviewed and revised, so that standardized test scores are not overriding criterion used to determine admissions.

 That the University of California prohibit standardized test scores from being used as the primary criterion to consider an applicant. Standardized tests (e.g. LSAT, GRE, GMAT, & MCAT) are major obstacles for underrepresented people of color because of the over-reliance placed on these exams.

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