Public university could consider race, gender in admissions if state constitutional amendment passes

Campus Reform Reporter

  • A 1996 amendment to the California Constitution prevents state institutions from giving preferential treatment to groups in employment, contracting, and education.
  • The University of California may be able to consider race, gender, and national origin when selecting students for admission if a state constitutional amendment passes this November.

    The proposed amendment, SCA-5, would nullify restrictions imposed by Proposition 209, which restricts admission standards on the basis of “race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin.” Proposition 209 was originally approved in 1996 in order to prohibit state institutions from giving preferential treatment to select individuals for public employment, public contracting, or public education.

    "Liberals use inequality as a major theme in their agendas, but they often promote the same inequality they denounce in order to achieve their own version of equality." - UC Santa Barbara student Kevin Ahnert   

    SCA-5 has to pass the California State Assembly to appear as a referendum on the ballot in November. State Senator Edward Hernandez (D) authored the legislation as a response to the decrease in minority enrollment within the UC system.

    The UC Board of Regents will only take a stance on SCA-5 if it makes it to the ballot, Shelly Meron, a spokeswoman for the UC Office of the President, told The Daily Nexus, UC Santa Barbara’s student-run newspaper.

    Additionally, any policy changes would have to go through a long implementation process in the UC system, where it would have to be reviewed and approved by the by the Board of Regents and Academic Senate, she said.

    Kevin Ahnert, a fourth-year student and College Republican, said the proposal is another example of hypocritical liberal policymaking.

    “Liberals use inequality as a major theme in their agendas, but they often promote the same inequality they denounce in order to achieve their own version of equality,” Ahnert said, arguing that inequality can’t be fixed “by reversing the inequality and giving preferential treatment to one race.”

    Ansel Lundberg, a third-year student and Campus Democrat, disagrees.

    Although, Lundberg believes affirmative action is not the “perfect system for getting underprivileged students into college,” he believes something like affirmative action is needed in order “to [decrease] inequality.”

    If SCA-5 is not passed, Lundberg contends that inequality can be addressed using other means.

    Edward Hernandez's office did not respond to a request for comment from Campus Reform in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @SteveLarson