Eighteen years ago, California’s voters approved Proposition 209, which eliminated the use of race and ethnicity for public university admissions, as well as for state hiring and contracting.
The numbers have shown that this policy has had a detrimental effect on Latino and African-American students, whose numbers decreased significantly, especially at UC Berkeley and UCLA.
These results are not good for our state, which benefits from having a knowledgeable workforce and professional diversity that mirrors its demographics. This does not mean that there should be quotas to fulfill, but all the circumstances regarding a student should be taken into account when considering whether to admit him or her into a public university.
To that end, the state Senate last week passed SCA5, which deletes prohibitions from Proposition 209 related to the education area. The measure must now be approved by two-thirds of the Assembly to be put on the election ballot.
If voters were the ones who approved Proposition 209, it is fair that they be the ones who decide whether to continue it. Nevertheless, that won’t happen because a portion of the Asian community blocked this process, because they think the reappearance of affirmative action will mean a decrease in the number of Asian students.
The belief that the percentage of students in a university will be decreased to its equivalent percentage according to demographics is false, irresponsible and toys with the fears of that community.
Unfortunately, this fear and its political effect have eliminated the possibility of letting voters decide. Democracy says that differing opinions should be decided at the polls and not in the halls of the Capitol in Sacramento.