Berkeley Under Fire For New Race-Based Program

Seal_of_University_of_California,_Berkeley.svgThere is another controversy brewing in California over allegations that the University of California at Berkeley is again trying to circumvent a state law that bars the use of race in educational decisions. Berkeley has announced a $20 million fund to endow scholarships for African-American students and to hire a diverse faculty. Critics say that it clearly runs afoul of the law and is another example the refusal of administrators to comply with a state policy for absolute racially blind decision-making in admissions and other educations decision making.

Berkeley’s “African-American Initiative” would raise funds from private non-profits to fund “a comprehensive effort to address the underrepresentation of African-American students, faculty and staff at our university, and improve the climate for those who are here now and all who will join our community in the future.” That would mean race-based scholarships for black students, the hiring of race-specific clinical psychologists as well as “diverse faculty and senior management.”

dirks-newChancellor Nicholas Dirks said that the university is intent upon increasing the representations of African-Americans: “For too long, African-Americans on our campus have faced obstacles to feeling fully included in the life of our university.” Of 38,000-student Cal-Berkeley, African-Americans make up 3 percent of undergraduates, 4 percent of graduate students and 2 percent of the faculty at the university.

The problem is Proposition 209 that was passed in 1996 to bar state institutions from considering race, sex, or ethnicity for public employment, contracting and education. The clear intent is to bar the use of these classifications in education.

The new program is clearly designed to circumvent the law but could present a tough legal issue. The university is arguing that the program will not make it easier for black students to be admitted but to encourage more to apply by guaranteeing tuition if they are admitted. Yet, this is not an entirely private scholarship fund (which can use race or gender based selection). The university will be administering the program. The law, once again, bars any discrimination or preferential treatment “in the operation . . . of public education.”

What do you think?

(a) The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

(b) This section shall apply only to action taken after the section’s effective date.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting bona fide qualifications based on sex which are reasonably necessary to the normal operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

(d) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as invalidating any court order or consent decree which is in force as of the effective date of this section.

(e) Nothing in this section shall be interpreted as prohibiting action which must be taken to establish or maintain eligibility for any federal program, where ineligibility would result in a loss of federal funds to the state.

(f) For the purposes of this section, “state” shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the state itself, any city, county, city and county, public university system, including the University of California, community college district, school district, special district, or any other political subdivision or governmental instrumentality of or within the state.

(g) The remedies available for violations of this section shall be the same, regardless of the injured party’s race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin, as are otherwise available for violations of then-existing California antidiscrimination law.

(h) This section shall be self-executing. If any part or parts of this section are found to be in conflict with federal law or the United States Constitution, the section shall be implemented to the maximum extent that federal law and the United States Constitution permit. Any provision held invalid shall be severable from the remaining portions of this section.

40 thoughts on “Berkeley Under Fire For New Race-Based Program”

  1. Berkeley Under Fire For New Race-Based Program

    Merit not race. Merit not creed. Merit not color. Merit not nepotism. Merit not wealth.

    If you do not earn it you do not deserve it.

    Meritocracy or bust.

    And bust we have.

  2. Deliberate, unconstitutional acts are subversion and treason.

    In a free nation, government must be neutral.

    The same principle that is involved in the separation of church and state applies here.

    Americans enjoy freedom of thought, speech, press, assembly, religion, etc.

    Americans are free to be Catholics, Muslims or Racists.

    Government may not impose or promote any particular religion, bias or racism.

    Matriculation and employment must be accomplished by officers and managers solely on merit.

    People must adapt to their own characteristics and live with the consequences of freedom.

    The state has no innate or constitutional authority to hold social opinions or goals; or to engineer social outcomes. The state must allow by omission the consequences of freedom.

    Promotion of social goals is private enterprise, as is charity.

    The principle of communism, social engineering, is unconstitutional and actionable subversion and treason.

    Federal and state congresses and assemblies have an obligation to impeach and convict for “high Crimes and Misdemeanors” and to prosecute for state and federal crimes.

  3. Karen S – Your last suggestion is absolutely correct. However, it will not satisfy the unwritten quota system driving the whole higher education enterprise–the system that says “we need to have x number from ethnic group a or we will not be diverse.” University administrators will tie themselves into pretzels to achieve their quotas.

  4. I think a more appropriate approach would have been scholarships for meritorious poor students. That should be the basic purpose of a scholarship – helping qualified students afford college.

  5. Intervention should occur to give lagging students or poor students extra help to catch up. We should never lower the bar, instill quotas, or otherwise focus on superficial criteria like skin color to determine admissions.

    If we give all students the opportunity to become competitive, then that will open up college admissions for them.

    What is truly tragic at schools in minority areas is the intense pressure for the kids to drop out, ditch school, or not participate. There is peer pressure against the students who try hard in school. Combating that self defeating attitude is one of the most productive approaches we can employ, as well as providing tutoring and after school help.

  6. I wish we would stop this hyper fixation on race, with the quotas and lowering the bar.

    I clearly recall my professors admitting to me that they taught the same class twice – once for those who deserved to be there on merit alone, and once for the Affirmative Action students who were completely lost.

    I support a meritocracy, where hard work and talent are rewarded. It is anathema to me to consider something so superficial as race or gender.

    Perhaps one day we will just see skin color as an interesting reflection of ancestry, and nothing more. The Left wants to use skin color to determine college admissions, job placement, and even buying houses, with talk of neighborhood quotas. It seems like the opposite of tolerance to me.

  7. I wonder if Blazing Saddles could be shown at a public theatre on Berkeley campus today. Even though the Mayor turned out to be all inclusive when pressed. I do not think that Berkeley would accept the phrase: “Ah, prairie shit!” Much less the other words.

    1. BarkinDog – you would have to paste stickers on the poster saying “Trigger Warnings abound”

  8. I looked up Blazing Saddles quotes on Google:

    01:12:36 What do you say?

    01:12:44 We’ll give some land to the niggers and the chinks…

    01:12:48 …but we don’t want the Irish!

    01:12:56 No deal.

    01:12:58 Ah, prairie shit! Everybody!

  9. Good to see the middle school gang haven’t trashed this thread. There is always one upmanship w/ liberals trying to be the most “down w/ the struggle.” Much of it is propelled by guilt. California usually wins the most liberal award because of crap like this.

  10. Discrimination in CA was primarily practiced against the Chinese and Japanese. The latter were not allowed to own land, and the former were, at one time, banned from public schools in San Francisco. Nonetheless, both groups have done exceptionally well. To the extent that there is poverty among Asians and Hispanics in CA, it is limited to recent immigrants. There are poor Hispanics crossing the border at this very moment, but that does not entitle them to a U.C. education. I’m not aware of any Jim Crow laws in CA. Blacks did not come to CA in significant numbers until they were recruited to work in the shipyards as part of the booming WWII war industry. It was illegal in CA until 1967 for white women to marry Asian men, although white men were allowed to marry Asian women. There was never any black/white anti-miscegenation laws, again, due to the paucity of blacks in the state. Most of the U.C. campuses were not built until the 1960s and much later; only Berkeley and UCLA have been around for more than century. It is notable that some of CA’s prominent Asian, black and Hispanic jurists graduated from the Jesuit law schools, in particular the University of San Francisco, which dates back to the early days of that city.

  11. 2 of my life-long friends were rejected by Rutgers University for (pre?)med. Each had all necessary academic and other qualifications. They were told – UNOFFICIALLY – it was because they were white.

    1 went to McGill in Montreal. He did OK. The other went to school in Grenada. Bad idea. He and other students were rescued by US Marines just like in the movie, “Heartbreak Ridge. True story.

    ‘Affirmative Action’ only affirms that those not selected will endure some strange actions.

  12. Oh good. Let’s hand it all over to the Republicans. They govern so well.

    McCarthy has withdrawn and congresscritters are seen crying.

    They certainly inspire confidence, don’t they.

  13. When Affirmative Action was implemented there was a situation in dire need of black role models that represented success in the professional fields: black doctors, black lawyers, black professionals in all fields. Affirmative Action was a bandaid that was necessary for the festering sore which was racism at that time. Although racism in America has abated somewhat it still exists but the problem does not lie in there being no examples of blacks in high places. In pretty much all facets of society blacks have been represented at the top.

    The focus now must be turned to the other end of the life experience, early youth and the segmented society in which we live. The general ghettoization of blacks has been pretty much stopped and erased but taking its place is a ghettoization similar to that which the British and the Canadian government used to ‘park’ their problems, the indigenous peoples. Canada simply paid them well enough to live on reservations with no need to ‘make it’ comparable to that which faced the rest of society. The result was a sequestering and complacency where ‘making it’ meant nothing to a youth who grew up in a society within a society that was paid for.

    This does not mean that the answer is to, in the best traditions of America’s polarity, flip to the survival of the fittest routine. Nor does it mean that blacks that make it to entrance time at a University should be given any preference. The private sector, perhaps funds from all those successful blacks that profited by the lower bars of Affirmative Action, could start contributing to those scholarships.

    Making it easier for minorities, especially blacks and latinos, to attend University, if they are qualified should be a part of the equation. However, that part should be diminishing and the focus should now be turned to the question why are not enough blacks and hispanics even making it through high school, let alone considering university.

    The extra effort of society to balance things out should be a greater focus on early youth. Those in the vanguard should be those that profited from Affirmative Action.

  14. I am going out to Frisco this week. A group of Irish Americans is meeting in Silicon Valley to protest past discrimination and present discrimination against The Irish. They promote their cause by showing the movie called Blazing Saddles. There is a scene in there where the Mayor of a Wild West town is letting in some Freedmen and the Freedmen will help stave off an outlaw attack. But the Mayor, when he concedes that the Freedmen can come in, says: But Not The Irish!

    I have found that America has all sorts of groups against whom there has been discrimination against and who need Affirmative Action now.

  15. I sure wish someone would’ve offered me free money when I was in college. I would’ve gone to UC instead of Cal State–the option I chose because I didn’t want to be mired in student loan debt for the rest of my adult life. I’m sure there are plenty of other Caucasians, Asians, Hispanics, etc who feel the same way. Why should only one ethnic group be allowed that benefit at a PUBLIC university?

    BTW: that Cal State education was good enough to get me a job at UC.

  16. I agree with the last two comments of TinEar. Affirmative Action is to redress prior policies and practices. I dont know if Jim Crow laws or practices existed in CA back in the days. Maybe. But what about the Japanese Americans sent to concentration camps in WWII? Their great grandkids dont deserve a bonus point in getting in Berkeley. Neither do the emigrants from Alabama who came to CA to escape Jim Crow before 1964 when the Civil Rights Act was passed. What about American Indians? Do they not get an affirmative bonus? Some white kids who gets rejected needs to sue for perverse discrimination.

  17. BTW, some posters are confusing Affirmative Action with Diversity. AA is the old concept, based on the 14th Amendment, which authorized the government to undertake actions to remove the “vestiges of slavery.” The original intent was to assist the newly freed slaves get a leg up on surviving economically. In the 1960s, the concept was revived to allow preferential treatment in employment and education. And like all government programs, it soon got out of hand, and started providing preferential treatment to groups for whom it was never intended. But as explained to me by a Cal official, the university soon found that extending AA based admissions to poor blacks wasn’t working, because they rarely made it past their first semester. In order to succeed at Cal, black students generally must have come from upper-income homes and school systems. But recruiting black students whose parents were doctors and lawyers didn’t fit with the notion of AA, because for those students, any presumed ill effects of slavery had already been eliminated. Moreover, the “legacy of slavery” could not justify special admissions programs for blacks whose parents were highly successful immigrants, nor immigrant Asian and Hispanic groups. Thus came the concept of “diversity” which has been in place in college admissions for the past 40 years. As the U.C. administrator explained, “All we look for is color.” Thus they will admit Ben Carson’s son, for example, over a poor black, because the former, though not the victim of poverty or discrimination, will likely have the educational skills to succeed and graduate. Essentially, U.C. decides how many students to admit in each ethnic group, and then you compete against members of your own group. Thus the school is largely comprised of wealthy students of each ethnic group. Nobody is truly disadvantaged at elite universities, although blacks often times are recruited with generous financial packages in order to entice competitive students from other top universities. (Similar to recruiting top athletes.) As far as Proposition 209, prohibiting race-based admissions in CA colleges, that is relatively new and will likely be played out in the courts.

  18. It’s encouraging to see folks actually pointing to the constitutionality of things. It would be far more encouraging to see them direct that attention at the federal level as well.

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