Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Out of 4,852 students expected to start as UCLA freshmen in September, only 96 (2%) are African-American

Jeffrey S. Lehman:

Five years ago, the University of California regents repealed UC Resolution SP-1, which in 1995 had mandated rigid colorblindness in admissions. The policy remains in force, however, through Proposition 209, the 1996 voter initiative that banned consideration of race in public programs.

When SP-1 and Proposition 209 were adopted, I was the dean of the University of Michigan Law School. In that role, I helped to defend my school's use of affirmative action in admissions, a policy that the Supreme Court upheld in 2003.

My experience taught me that most Americans cherish two important ideals: They value colorblindness, preferring that large institutions not consider race when allocating significant opportunities; and they value integration, wanting their best institutions to include people from all backgrounds.

Unfortunately, those values are in conflict. The admissions pool at the most selective universities reflects the cumulative effect of history, sociology and economics, public investments and private choices. Because those variables are not race-independent, a colorblind admissions process is unlikely to produce meaningful racial integration.

For 10 years, Proposition 209 has proved that point. According to the census, our country is 14% Latino and 13% African American, and California is 35% Latino and 7% African American. Operating under Proposition 209, the entering classes at Berkeley and UCLA have tended to be 11% to 14% Latino and 2% to 4% African American.

UC minority enrollment on the decline

Little Change in Freshman Diversity

Background: Decline in African American Admissions at UCLA

Law schools must increase diversity

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