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Back to December Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 215 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS DECEMBER 2003

UC Berkeley Under Fire for Minority Admissions 
End Run Around Prop 209?
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New figures on the University of California at Berkeley's minority admissions have raised questions as to whether the university is violating Proposition 209, a ban on affirmative action in admissions approved by California voters in 1996.

Of the 332 students admitted to the state's most prestigious university in fall 2002 with SAT I scores of 1000 or below, 90% were minorities, according to an analysis by the Oakland Tribune (oaklandtribune.com, 10-26-03). The average SAT I for the admitted class was 1337 out of 1600. About 3,200 students with scores above 1400 were denied entry in 2002, including more than 600 students with scores above 1500, an analysis by UC Board of Regents chairman John J. Moores revealed. (latimes.com 10-17-03)

Moreover, students admitted in 2002-03 with SAT I scores below 1000 are dropping out at twice the rate of the rest of their class, and their grades average half a point lower, according to a subsequent revision of Moores's report. (sfgate.com, 11-08-03)

Critics suggest that Berkeley's admissions policy, which considers personal hardship and extracurricular achievement as well as academic qualifications, provides a "camouflage of quotas," in the words of Harold Johnson, an attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation (oaklandtribune.com, 10-26-03).

The controversy has caused the fur to fly between Moores, who owns the San Diego Padres, and Berkeley chancellor Robert M. Berdahl. In a blistering letter, Berdahl accused Moores of behaving irresponsibly and doing "singular damage" to the campus by criticizing its admissions process. Regent Ward Connerly, who led the successful fight for Proposition 209, called Berdahl's letter "impertinent." (latimes.com, 10-17-03)

"I think something is very screwy, so I want somebody to come back and tell me exactly what is going on," Moores responded to the San Francisco Chronicle (sfgate.com, 10-10-03).


 
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