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California universities prepare for possible return of affirmative action in admissions

California universities prepare for possible return of affirmative action in admissions


Larry Gordon
June 22, 2020
As the movement to repeal the state ban on affirmative action reaches a crucial decision point, speculation is rising about the possible long-term impact on the enrollment of various racial and ethnic groups and low-income students at California’s public universities
Legislation to reverse the ban was approved by the state Assembly earlier this month and is awaiting action by the State Senate, where it needs a two-thirds approval by Thursday. If that happens, the Assembly Constitutional Amendment 5  (ACA 5) would go to the voters statewide on Nov. 3, on the same ballot as the race for U.S. president.  Its outcome could be helped by a progressive turnout against President Donald Trump and by recent protests against police brutality.
The amendment’s main goal is to revoke Proposition 209, which was approved by voters in 1996. The end of Prop 209 would mean, among other things, that race could once again be considered by California’s public universities in recruiting efforts and admissions decisions. The proposed amendment’s backers clearly hope that the number of Black and Latino university students will rise at the University of California and the California State University. But they say they do not seek any set percentages of ethnic minorities enrolling. (In fact, U.S. Supreme Court decisions before and after Proposition 209 ban such quotas but otherwise allow race to be a factor in college admissions.)


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