Regents Apologize for Racist Incidents at UC San Diego

Larry Gordon, Los Angeles Times, March 25, 2010

University of California leaders Wednesday apologized to black UC San Diego students for recent racial incidents at the campus and proposed changes in admissions policies aimed at boosting enrollment of minorities across the system.

UC President Mark G. Yudof and other UC regents acknowledged that the UC San Diego episodes, including an off-campus student party that mocked Black History Month, has brought attention to the low enrollment of African American students on the campus. About 1.6% of UC San Diego undergraduates are black, among the lowest such figures for any UC campus. The UC leaders promised to help create campus environments in which minority students feel more comfortable.

Speaking during a regents meeting at UC San Francisco, Yudof said he wanted all UC campuses to adopt an admissions process known as “holistic” review, in which applicants’ test scores and high school grades are considered in the context of their life experiences and personal accomplishments.

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Holistic review is permitted at the university, but Yudof said he would like it to be required at all nine UC undergraduate campuses. UCLA and UC Berkeley now use the approach most extensively, while others, including UC San Diego, rely on a more rigid formula that allows less consideration of personal accomplishments and, Yudof said, may unfairly reject otherwise academically eligible low-income and minority students.

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Last year, UC regents adopted sweeping changes in undergraduate admissions policies that were designed partly to boost the number of low-income and minority students without violating the state’s ban on racial affirmative action. Starting with freshmen entering in fall 2012, applicants will no longer need to take two SAT subject exams, although the main SAT test would still be required. The change also will widen the pool of students eligible to be considered for admission based on high school grades.

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But [Regent Eddie Island] also blamed UC’s admissions policies for artificially limiting the rolls of minority students. “It is the absence of inclusion that frees hatred, that frees bigotry, that allows it to go unchallenged. That’s our biggest problem,” he said.

Black student leaders from UC San Diego addressed the regents and said that the controversial party, a so-called Compton Cookout at which guests were invited to dress like ghetto residents, was just the tipping point after decades of blacks feeling marginalized on campus. {snip}

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[Earlier stories on the Compton Cookout are listed here.]

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