EppsNet Archive: Proposition 209

Banning Racial Preferences in California Helped Everyone

20 Jun 2013 /
University of California

When racial preferences were banned by the voters in California, there were dire predictions that this would mean the virtual disappearance of black and Hispanic students from the University of California system. What in fact happened was a 2% decline in their enrollment in the University of California system as a whole, but an increase in the number of black and Hispanic students graduating, including an increase of 55% in the number graduating in four years and an increase of 63% in the number graduating in four years with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher.

Instead of the predicted drastic decline in enrollment in the system as a whole, there was a drastic redistribution of black and Hispanic students within the University of California system. Their enrollment dropped at the two most elite campuses, Berkeley and UCLA — by 42% at the former and 33% at the latter. But their enrollment rose by 22% at the Irvine campus, 18% at the Santa Cruz campus, and 65% at the University of California at Riverside. After this redistribution, the number of black and Hispanic students who graduated with degrees in science, mathematics, and engineering “rose by nearly 50 percent,” according to Sander and Taylor. The number of doctorates earned by black and Hispanic students in the system rose by about 20%.

In short, the problems created by the mismatching brought on by affirmative action gave way to significant improvements in the academic performances of black and Hispanic students in the University of California system after those preferences were banned.


Don’t Check Asian

22 Jan 2012 /

Asian kids are putting a different race on their college applications to boost their chances of getting into the top schools.

Lanya Olmstead was born in Florida to a mother who immigrated from Taiwan and an American father of Norwegian ancestry. Ethnically, she considers herself half Taiwanese and half Norwegian. But when applying to Harvard, Olmstead checked only one box for her race: white.

That’s a rather modest strategy. Identifying yourself as white does give you a little bit of a boost but to really improve the odds, I’d advise everyone to go ahead and check the Black or Hispanic box. Or Eskimo. Eskimos are kind of Asian-looking.

Princeton sociologist Thomas Espenshade examined applicants to top colleges from 1997, when the maximum SAT score was 1600 (today it’s 2400). Espenshade found that Asian-Americans needed a 1550 SAT to have an equal chance of getting into an elite college as white students with a 1410 or black students with an 1100.

Here in California, state colleges and universities are prohibited by Proposition 209 from considering race in the admissions process. As a result, the student body at UC Berkeley is more than 40 percent Asian, up from about 20 percent before Prop 209 was passed in 1996. (The California population is 13 percent Asian.)

Other top schools that don’t consider race in admissions also have a high percentage of Asian students. Cal Tech is about one-third Asian. (As a private school, Cal Tech is not subject to Prop 209, but chooses not to consider race.)

Yale, Harvard, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania declined to make admissions officers available for interviews for this story.

Draw your own conclusions. We are being overrun by the yellow horde!


Engineering is Serious Business, Says Engineering Major

6 Dec 2011 /
English: Campus of the UC Berkeley in Berkeley...

Image via Wikipedia

The dean of UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering expressed support today for a recommendation from a student group that the college create a recruitment and retention plan for women and underrepresented minority students.

It sounds like the dean might be up for lowering the engineering standards to meet diversity metrics. Bad idea. Engineering is serious business.

Also: Preferential treatment by a public institution based on race, sex or ethnicity is prohibited by California law.

I’ve got a better and more legal idea: How about if the women and “underrepresented” minority students suck it up and meet the same academic standards as everyone else?

Or apply to a different school? If they can’t meet the standards at Berkeley, they might do fine at a less demanding institution like Stanford or UCLA.

I’ve attended engineering school myself. We had diversity admits. After one semester, maybe two, they weren’t there anymore. Who was helped?