indica News Bureau-
The University of California regents board on Monday voted to support an effort to bring back affirmative action in hopes of diversifying its student body on its 10 campuses amid declines of minority groups in the nearly 24 years since the practice was outlawed, according to published reports.
Monday’s unanimous vote by the school’s Board of Regents supports the repeal of California’s Proposition 209, a 1996 statewide measure that banned the consideration of race and gender in admissions decisions, according to reports.
“There is amazing momentum for righting the wrongs caused by centuries of systemic racism in our country. The UC Board of Regents’ votes to endorse ACA 5 and to repeal Proposition 209 plays a part in that effort,” board chair John A. Pérez said in a statement. “As we continue to explore all the University’s opportunities for action, I am proud UC endorsed giving California voters the chance to erase a stain, support opportunity and equality, and repeal Proposition 209.”
California’s state Assembly approved Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5 (ACA 5) last week 60-14. The legislation is in the state Senate, where if ratified, ACA 5 will appear on Nov. 3 general election ballot, according to published reports.
Affirmative action refers to a set of policies and laws intended to promote diversity in schools and workplaces. Supporters say it levels the playing field, promotes a healthy multicultural society and helps compensate for centuries of racial, social and economic oppression. Detractors argue it’s a form of reverse discrimination that favors one group over another based on racial or gender preferences instead of academic achievement, according to reports.
California is one of eight states that have banned race-conscious admissions practices.
“It makes little sense to exclude any consideration of race in admissions when the aim of the University’s holistic process is to fully understand and evaluate each applicant through multiple dimensions,” UC President Janet Napolitano, former US Secretary pf Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013 under President Barack Obama and former Democratic governor of Arizona from 2003 to 2009, said in a statement. “In the years since [Proposition] 209 passed, many of us have watched with dismay, and largely tied hands, as the number of students from underrepresented groups at UC declined and plateaued.”
According to published reports, underrepresented students — defined as black, Latino, Pacific Islander or American Indian — declined from 20 percent in 1995 to 15 percent in 1998, while Asian American and white student bodies have grown.
The US Supreme Court has upheld race-based considerations in college admissions.