Sunday, April 27, 2014

Janet Napolitano: How to diversify a campus, in spite of the Supreme Court


In the Washington Post, University of California President Janet Napolitano discusses the challenges facing public universities in California in which Proposition 209 since 1996 has prohibited the consideration of race or gender in admissions decisions.   She observes that

"As Justice Sonia Sotomayor explained while referencing the University of California’s amicus brief [in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, decided earlier this week], Proposition 209 produced `an immediate and precipitous decline in the rates at which underrepresented-minority students applied to, were admitted to, and enrolled' at the university. At the University of California’s most selective campuses, for example, admission and enrollment rates for underrepresented minorities dropped by more than half immediately after the ban was put in place."

President Napolitano concludes as follows:

"Our experience in California gives Michigan — and other states that may be considering bans on race-conscious admissions — a sense of what lies ahead. For nearly two decades, we have served as a laboratory of innovation for race-blind strategies to promote diversity on our campuses. We will continue these vital efforts. But as long as the university is prohibited from considering all of an applicant’s characteristics, we will be doing so with one arm tied tightly behind our backs."


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