In 1996, California voters passed Proposition 209, an amendment to the state constitution which prohibited the use of race and gender as a criterion in awarding state contracts, hiring state employees, or admitting students to state universities. Of these various bans, the ban on racial preferences in admissions at the University of California (“UC”) has proven the hardest to enforce. UC traditionally had a very strong commitment to affirmative action, and many observers think that a variety of UC programs engage in covert racial discrimination.
Recently, particular attention has focused on UCLA’s undergraduate admissions. In 2006, an unusually low yield of blacks in the freshman class sparked protests on campus and criticism in the local media. UCLA’s Chancellor urged its admissions committee to adopt a new admissions system – “holistic” admissions – partly in an effort to increase black admissions. A leading faculty member on the Admissions Committee, political scientist Tim Groseclose, resigned in protest over UCLA’s unwillingness to allow even admissions faculty to scrutinize admissions numbers. In May 2012, Dr. Robert Mare, an eminent sociologist at UCLA, submitted a detailed report on holistic admissions commissioned by the university. Mare found that hundreds more blacks had been admitted to UCLA’s undergraduate programs than could be explained by the university’s own internal information and procedures. In October 2012, Richard Sander and Stuart Taylor published Mismatch, a study of the effects of affirmative action which included a section on the effects of Prop 209 and the evidence of illegal racial preferences at UCLA and elsewhere.
University officials have simply denied any wrongdoing. They have refused to participate in any kind of forum where the evidence of discrimination can be discussed and debated.
This website is intended to provide information on this controversy and to allow concerned applicants, parents, and members of the UCLA community to weigh in with their own experiences and views about admissions at UCLA and the effects of cheating – if it does exist – on the campus environment.
The Consideration of Race in UCLA Undergraduate Admissions
Richard Sander (October 20, 2012)
Richard H. Sander and Stuart Taylor, JR. (October, 2012)
Holistic Review in Freshmen Admissions at UCLA
Robert Mare (May, 2012)