Monday, November 7, 2011

Racial Profiling in Admissions in California

Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have restored racial and ethnic preferences for admission to California’s public colleges and universities. Bill, SB 185, was in effect an attempt to undo what California voters accomplished in 1996, when they passed Proposition 209, the measure that amended the state’s constitution to read:

The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

This isn't the first attempt to rescind the proposition.

This bill would authorize the University of California and the California State University to consider race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin, along with other relevant factors, in undergraduate and graduate admissions, to the maximum extent permitted by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, Section 31 of Article I of the California Constitution, and relevant case law.

Universities continue to work towards creative enrollment procedures to draw students from a variety of backgrounds into higher education. Others prefer to work with the distinctions of being intentional with identifying racial differences.

What are your thoughts on the attempts to re-introduce racial profiling in enrolment?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NAS Challenges Public Race-Based Admissions

The National Association of Scholars, along with others, filed an amicus brief with the High Court stating public universities violate the Constitution if they use applicants' race as a factor to decide on admissions.

The particular case in question stems from a University of Texas student Abigail Fisher who was denied admission to UT-Austin based, as she suggests, the university's admissions policy that screens applicants for racial background (she's Caucasian). UT-Austin considers an applicant's race, with favoritism for African-Americans and Hispanics.

"Judging applicants to a public university on the basis of their skin color isn't just unfair, it is unconstitu­tional," said Sharon L. Browne, a principal attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation. "Teaching students that they are defined not by their hard work, but by their skin color, violates core concepts of equal opportunity and core principles of the Equal Protection Clause."

On one hand you want a racially diverse group, initially rulings that permitted this type of 'discrimination' did so with the intent of increasing diversity in the classroom and attempting to enable? under privileged students to access post-secondary programs.

Conversely, race is not always an accurate determinant for diversity. Skin color does not necessarily imply very different socio-economic or even cultural backgrounds.

According to Browne applicants who are most discriminated against by UT-Austin's policy are Asians. "Admissions statistics bear this out," said Browne. "Asian Americans need an average SAT score of 1,322 to be admitted, compared to 1,193 for Hispanics.

Your thoughts?