Marla Jo Fisher, Orange County Register, August 29, 2008
A professor who said he suspects UCLA is cheating to illegally admit black students resigned Thursday from its admissions committee, saying the university refused to provide him the data he needs to investigate his suspicions.
“A growing body of evidence strongly suggests that UCLA is cheating on admissions,” political science Professor Tim Groseclose wrote in a report he released Thursday. “Specifically, applicants often reveal their own race on the essay portion of the application.”
Campus officials deny the accusations and say they’re following the law. Privacy concerns prevented the university from giving Groseclose the data he wanted, officials said.
One of the most sought-after campuses in the United States, University of California, Los Angeles has been banned since before Proposition 209 from using race as an admissions criteria, along with other state public universities.
Students typically report their race on their applications, but the people who evaluate their files don’t see names, race or ethnicity. If race does come up in an application essay, it’s supposed to be ignored, said Janina Montero, vice chancellor for student affairs.
Campus officials have been under intense pressure to increase numbers of black students, particularly since a 2006 public outcry over the fact that only 96 of the nearly 5,000 freshmen who enrolled at the prestigious campus were African American.
This year, 235 black freshmen plan to enroll for the fall term, about 5 percent of the freshman class and more than double the 2006 number.
“There’s circumstantial evidence to suggest some back door racial preferences are going on,” Groseclose said.
The professor, who holds an endowed chair and has a background in statistical analysis, said he wasn’t resigning from the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions and Relations with Schools over that issue, but because campus officials refused to provide him with the information he wanted to analyze the admissions.
Gloseclose said he wanted to use statistical analysis to study the probability that students were being admitted by race. He asked for 1,000 student files, including essays, with the names removed.
Gloseclose said he actually favors the idea of offering preferences to bring in more black students, but he is unhappy at what he calls a “lack of transparency” in the process.
Groseclose said that, at the same time black enrollments went up, low-income Vietnamese enrollments went down.
Low-income Vietnamese applicants are typically among the most disadvantaged, he said, because few had parents who attended college and they often overcome grave hardships to enroll.
UCLA figures showed Vietnamese admissions dipped from 270 in 2006 to 207 for the coming fall.