UC Students Say No Recruiting Until Affirmative Action Is Restored
Students indignant over the University of California’s ban on affirmative action are threatening to stop recruiting minority prospects.
Jackie Melendez, a UC Berkeley student, told regents at a March meeting at UCLA that she and others in outreach groups weren’t willing to encourage minority students to enroll in the nine-campus system with the ban in place.
Melendez said students wouldn’t deliberately try to dissuade prospective students, but “we feel that the truth about what it feels like to be a student of color at UC Berkeley is discouraging enough. I’d like to send an invitation for you to walk to my classes. Walk through a day of life at UC Berkeley with me.”
Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl said that if the groups follow through on the threat he will withhold about $27,000 in campus funds usually given to the groups for their participation.
“I hope they change their minds,” he said. “I think they’ve done nothing to date that would indicate that they actually have discouraged students.”
Affirmative action wasn’t on the regents’ agenda for the March meeting, but some on the board do want to repeal the ban. It could come up at the May meeting, which will take place in San Francisco.
Repealing the ban will not restore affirmative action. A year after regents voted to drop affirmative action, state voters made a similar decision with passage of the ballot initiative Proposition 209 that forbade using race or gender in most public
programs, including education.
More than 1,000 students rallied outside the regents’ meeting to demand that they vote for repeal of the ban.
About 200 students later occupied a campus auditorium, forcing the cancellation of a planned debate among Los Angeles mayoral candidates.
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