Black, Hispanic Admissions Up in First Year of UC Program
But in enrollment at flagship campuses continues to decline.
Black and Hispanic admissions to the University of California increased in the first year of a program guaranteeing a spot for the top 4 percent of high school graduates.
UC officials say they don’t yet know if the new program was directly responsible, although it seems likely since the plan boosted applications from those groups.
Figures released early this month on the fall 2001 freshman class continued a four-year trend of steady increases in Black and Hispanic enrollment, following sharp drops immediately following the end of affirmative action.
Admissions of underrepresented minorities — Blacks, Hispanics and American Indians — for the fall semester are up by about 17 percent, from 7,336 last year to 8,580. Proportionately, underrepresented minorities make up 18.6 percent of in-state freshman admissions, compared to 18.8 percent in 1997, the last year race and gender were taken into account.
However, the admissions picture has changed significantly due to a reshuffling that has seen fewer Black and Hispanics going to the top campuses of Berkeley and UCLA but more enrolling at lesser-known campuses.
Officials also don’t know how much of the rebound is due to changes in the state population and how much to recruitment and other outreach efforts.
Recent census figures show that the Hispanic population in California grew 43 percent over the past decade and is projected to make up 33 percent of graduating high school seniors this year.
Hispanics comprised nearly 15 percent of UC in-state freshmen admitted for the fall 2001 semester.
No one group held the majority in admissions, although Whites were the largest contingent, at about 38 percent, followed by Asians at 34 percent. Blacks made up 3 percent of admissions and American Indians .05 percent. About 2 percent of those admitted checked the “Other” box and nearly 4,000 — 8 percent of the grand total — declined to state race or ethnicity.
Census data show the state is about 47 percent White, 32 percent Hispanic, 11 percent Asian, 7 percent Black and 1 percent American Indian.
Flagship Berkeley admitted 293 Black students, a 43 percent drop from the 1997 total of 515. UC-Riverside, meanwhile, admitted 567 Blacks, an 89 percent increase over the 1997 total of 300.
“We still have a serious problem at selective UC campuses,” Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, an ex-officio regent, said in a statement.
On the other hand, Regent Ward Connerly, who wrote UC’s race-blind policies, saw the admissions figures as proving “conclusively that the university is achieving an integrated student body without the use of preferences based on race or ethnicity.”
Bustamante, who was not on the UC Board of Regents for the 1995 vote to drop affirmative action, is part of a growing faction that wants to see that vote rescinded, possibly as early as May. The repeal would not restore affirmative action, which was outlawed by the 1996 state ballot initiative Proposition 209. But it is viewed by proponents as an important gesture to minorities.
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