Fuzzy Math in California Admissions

The nine-campus University of California system is reducing the number of freshman admissions because of the financial crisis. But “underrepresented groups”—non-Asian-American minorities—shouldn’t worry at all. Apparently all the cuts will come from white and Asian-American applicants. Down in the ninth paragraph of a 13-paragraph Associated Press story in the San Jose Mercury News, we learn this: “Admission offers to California residents increased 2 percent for African-Americans, 4 percent for Latinos and 21 percent for American Indians. Offers remained relatively unchanged for Asian-Americans and declined 6 percent for whites.”
In raw numbers, compared with fall of 2008, admission offers for this fall are +59 for Latinos, +71 for American Indians, +73 for Pacific Islanders, +290 for African-Americans – 241 for Asian-Americans and -1236 for whites. The category of “other” is – 220, and those who “declined to state” race or ethnicity, believed to be mostly whites who don’t want to play the racial game, is – 861. How can the system get away with these selective racial and ethnic cuts? Doesn’t California’s Proposition 209 make affirmative action in public college admissions illegal? Good questions.

John Leo

John Leo is the editor of Minding the Campus, dedicated to chronicling imbalances within higher education and restoring intellectual pluralism to our American universities. His popular column, "On Society," ran in U.S.News & World Report for 17 years.

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